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The Roleplaying Game Of Caveman Miscommunication

 Unearthed Edition 

Credits
Author: Robin D. Laws
Editor: Patrick Sweeney
Cover Design: Dan Zillion
Interior Art: Bill Holbrook and Ramsey Hong
Graphic Design & Layout: Dan Zillion

Playtesters: Troy Duffy, Chris Huth, Paul Jackson, Robin Lim, Justin Mohareb,
John H. Kim, Mark Walters, Edmund Metheny, Ed Freeman, Meg Alcock, Taylor
Leslie, Sophie Lagace, Robin Jones, Richard Broadhurst, Andy Hart, Sam Loxton,
Alan Godfrey, Jamie Doherty, Dee Mamora, John Callaghan, Liza Payne, Kris
Payne, Frederic Moll, Douglas MacIntyre, Ben Brown, Gemma Renwick, Martin
Macgowan, Dave Mackenzie, Marie Cartner, Francois Uldry, Paul OGrady.

Original Concept & Design: Aldo Ghiozzi

Copyright 2007 by Firefly Games under license from Wingnut Games. All rights reserved under
International Copyright Convention.
All situations, incidents and persons portrayed within are fictional and any similarity without satiric
intent to individuals living or dead is strictly coincidental.
Published by Firefly Games, 4514 Marconi Ave. #3, Sacramento CA 95821, patrick@firefly-games.com.
Visit our web site at www.firefly-games.com
Table of Contents
Foreword......................................................3
You Are Caveman..........................................5
You Find Stuff and Do Things ........................11
You Hit Things with Rocks and Clubs..............19
You Get Eaten ............................................27
You Learn Stuff, Maybe ................................37
You Have Adventures ..................................41
Preface To the
Unearthed Edition
B
reakthrough moments are few and considerable margin the famous meeting
far between for those of us who of Gygax and Arneson at Gen Con in 1971.
labor in the arcane field of paleo-- The 2004 discovery of the so-called
aleaology. As all readers of this de Moisi Caves threw our roleplaying
specialized volume doubtless know, this timeline into a steaming pile of
is the study of prehistoric roleplaying brontosaur ordure. There, on cave
games as discovered in the fossil record. surfaces we can conclusively date to an
Without question, the publication of astoundingly ancient 30,000 BC, was a
this book represents just such a mile- previous, more primal edition of the
stone, one whose scholarly necessity we roleplaying game known as Og. Its
at the Institute of Paleo-Gaming Studies superior antiquity is unquestioned. Not
are well-prepared to proclaim. only does the carbon test pan out, but
In March of 2004, researchers the de Moisi version is obviously a
affiliated with the Institut de Prhistoire simpler creation, predating the
et de Gologie du Quaternaire, France, invention of character levels, ablative
uncovered a previously unexamined cave armor, and Magic: the Gathering jokes.
complex near the village of Montignac. We of the Institute have our quibbles
This is the same area where the Lascaux with certain interpretive choices made
cave paintings were discovered in 1940. by designer Robin D. Laws, who in
As any schoolchild is aware, the several instances has recklessly
original cave paintings depict scenes of privileged entertaining game play
animals and hunting. Lesser known are over scholarly accuracy. Nonetheless, we
the contents of its Chamber of the are anxious to endorse its promulgation
Polyhedrals, where was found, in to a wider audience. We thank Firefly
fragmentary form, the rules for the Games for the opportunity to provide
world s first roleplaying game. Translated pedagogical corrections, where
from pictogram into English by noted warranted, to Laws work. These
gamer and paleoanthropologist Aldo appear in sidebar form throughout
Ghiozzi, this rules set was first the main text.
published in 1993 by Wingnut Games, — Laurent St.-Montmorency, PhD.
with subsequent revisions and releases Senior Fellow, Institute of Paleo-Gaming Studies,
in 1995, 2000, and 2001. Zurich, Switzerland
Consensus estimates date the
paintings of the Lascaux complex to
between 10,000 and 13,000 years B.C.
Thus the Wingnut editions of Og: The Role
Playing Game have long been assumed to
represent mankind s
oldest roleplaying game, predating by a

3
You Are CAveman

I
n Og, you play a caveman or eat them. You are very stupid. Bad
cavewoman struggling for survival in things happen to you. You make bad
a hostile world of dinosaurs, mammoths, things happen to things who make bad
and other prehistoric beasties. The things happen to you. So it all works
dinosaurs, mammoths, and prehistoric out. Unless you get eaten.
beasties want to eat you, and you want to

What Am Roleplaying?
Although the de Moisi ing, but with a referee, m i llion times already and
version of Og is by many called a Game Master, and a nobody ever learns RPGs
millennia the oldest role- set of rules which from a cold reading of a
playing game now known, determine outcomes, thus cave wall anyway. They ask
tantalizing hints suggest differentiating them from their friends how it works,
that it builds on earlier childhood games of and their friends either
examples of the form. Most  P terodactyl and explain it, or pelt them with
notably, it begins with a sec- Pterodactyl meat. It then sharpened rocks.
tion of pictograms explain- goes on to state that it will LSM
ing that roleplaying games keep this section short, as
are like organized pretend- everyone has read it a

5
All communication to other players
18 Words must be expressed with your limited
Did we mention that you are very vocabulary. You may never address your
stupid? Hampering your progress fellow players out of character. Your
through this hostile, hungry world are few words, plus grunts, gestures, and,
your vast array of mental inabilities. if youre really talented, stick-figure draw-
Chief among these is your limited ings, are all you get.
grasp of language. Human speech is in Your GM will discourage you from
its infancy in the land of Og. Among the engaging in formal charade techniques,
people of your tribe, only 18 words are like spelling out words or naming the
known. These words are: number of syllables in a word, because
You Me Rock Water your characters lack the necessary frame
Fire Stick Hairy Bang of reference. Aside from that restriction,
Sleep Smelly Small Big feel free to leap up and engage in mimicry
Cave Food Thing Shiny and miming to get your point across. Do
Go Verisimilitude you need to distinguish between a hairy
thing sabertooth tiger and a hairy thing
Do you start play with all 18 words?
dire wolf ? Mime the big fangs of the
Heck no! That would make you a smart
former, while letting out an ear-splitting
caveman. Instead, you know only a frac-
feline yowl. Then do your best wolf
tion of these words. You may learn more
impression, while growling appropriately.
words in the course of play. You might
When in doubt, say your few words
even get to coin new words unknown
louder. That always helps.
to your tribe. But for now you know
You may, however, step out of
only a few.
character to describe to the GM
When communicating with other
what your character is doing.
characters in the game, you can use only
Although, for ease of reference, the
these words, augmented by whatever
players and GM give the characters
grunts, hoots, trills or other non-verbal
names, the cavemen are actually incapable
noises you care to make. You can also
of speaking them. They think of each
supplement your communications with
other as hey, you and leave it at that.
gestures.
Curiously, your cavemen do under-
stand words they dont know how to
use themselves.

Speaking and Understanding


It is a curious feature of suggest that the brain than others. On the other
both known versions of Og structures of the hunter- hand, maybe the nameless
that characters are gatherers who first played cavemen who first created
presumed to understand this game were still in the this game just thought it
the meaning of words they process of evolution, with was funnier that way.
cannot speak. This has led some language faculties —LSM
some theorists to more highly developed

6
Example Of Play
Your character, Thag, is walking up
Character Creation
Character creation in Og occurs in the
the hill with his buddies, Mog played by following simple steps. Write the results
Krista, Dag played by Jerry and Garg down on a copy of the character sheet
played by Asif. At the crest of the hill
provided at the back of this book. Its
you see a tribe of monkey-men hauling
also available as a PDF download from
off the carcass of a dead ibex.
the Firefly Games website at www.fire-
Hey, you say to your fellow players,
fly-games.com.
lets jump those monkey-men and get
that carcass!
1. Choose your character class.
Your GM wags a finger at you. Uh uh
Characters fall into seven character
uh, she admonishes. Use only your
classes: Eloquent, Strong, Banging,
words. Learned, Fast, Tough, and Grunting.
You stand corrected. Gesturing wildly, These are explained in greater detail
you bellow: Food! Food! Go bang in the next section.
hairy!
The other players nod their heads
2. Everyone rolls 1d6+2 to see how many
enthusiastically.
words they get. Eloquent cavemen roll
Bang! yells Krista.
after everyone else, and get either the
Bang hairy thing! growls Jerry,
result of a 1d6+4 roll, or 2 more words
refining the thought.
than any other non-Eloquent cave-
Okay, you say to the GM, I grab
man, whichever is greater. Each player
my spear and charge on up.
then chooses their allotted words
I go around the side and try to sneak
from the list of 18.
up from behind, says Krista. You can take a word that isnt on
You start to argue with Krista. No, the list of 18 by reducing the number
no, lets all go together Catching of words you would otherwise get by
yourself, you grope for a way to express 2. Dont spend all night thinking about
your thought, which is that you should
which one you want, though.
go in together. Last time the group
Your GM may want to get started
tried the clever approach, you got
quickly, for example in the case of a
stomped by members of a rival tribe
convention game. Or maybe youre a
while waiting for your supposedly sneaky
notorious pack of foot-dragging
colleagues to arrive. Jumping up and
slowpokes. In either case, she can
down angrily, you point to yourself,
speed this stage up by having you
then to the whole group, then to the
draw your words randomly from a hat.
monkey-men.
While youre trying to get your 3. Everyone rolls 1d6+3 to see how many
point across, says the GM, the monkey- Unggghh Points they get. Unggghh
men scamper over the side of the ridge, points measure the cavemans ability
disappearing out of sight.
to take physical punishment before
I chase them! you call, to the GM.
keeling over. They are named after
Go bang! Go bang! you cry, to the
the sound you make when you lose
other players, as your character charges
them. Ungghh! Be sure to grunt
up the hill.
vigorously whenever using this term

7
in the course of play. waiting before play starts poring over
Tough cavemen roll after everyone the ability lists and carefully choosing
else. The Tough caveman may either your abilities. This is not that kind of
choose to roll 1d6+6, or to get X+3 game.
Unggghh Points, where X is the Learned or otherwise, all characters
highest Unggghh Point value of any automatically get the Run Away ability
non-Tough caveman in the group.  all cavemen who are not part of the
fossil record have already honed this
4. Note your Attack value on your char- talent to perfection. This does not count
acter sheet. Your value is 5, unless you against the total number of abilities they
chose to be a Banging caveman, in get to choose. This reflects the fact that
which case its a 4. This is your chance fleeing at top speed is often the smartest
of hitting your enemies when engaged choice a group of cavemen can possibly
in a fight. make.
Some classes get more use out of
5. Note your Damage value on your char- certain abilities than others, so you may
acter sheet. Your value is 1, unless you want to choose the ones that match
chose to be a Strong caveman, in your character. Learned cavemen get
which case its 2. This measures how extra mileage out of Draw and Fish.
hard you hit your enemies, assuming Strong cavemen are especially good at
you succeed in landing a blow. Lift. Tough cavemen totally rock that
Resistance ability. Everyone gets the
6. Note your Evade value on your char- Run Away ability, but Fast cavemen get
acter sheet. Your value is 0, unless you to be better at it than anyone else.
chose to be a Fast caveman, in which Thats it! Youre done with character
case its a 1. Enemies trying to hit you creation, and ready to get out and face
must add your Evade to their Attack that nasty prehistoric world!
values.

7. Note how many abilities you get to


pick during play. If youre a Learned
caveman, you get 6. Otherwise, you
get 3.

Rather than choosing your abilities


before play starts, you pick them as the
game unfolds. There is no shame in
picking exactly the ability you need to
get you out of whatever predicament
you happen to find yourself in at the
moment. If there are abilities you know
you want, you can declare them at any
time. Just dont keep everyone else

8
Banging
Dice You hit your combat opponents more
frequently than other cavemen. You
To play Og, each player, including
the GM, needs a few, standard, six- were born with a stick or rock in your
sided die. Most of the time you ll hand. Your response to any problem is
only need one. Because a result of 1 to bang itto hit it with a rock or stick.
is always bad news, you may wish to Is there a Neanderthal blocking your
acquire special Og dice from Firefly path? Bang him with a stick! A towering
Games. These dice replace the 1 with brontosaurus? Bang him with a stick!
the image of a slavering dinosaur, Does a raging river stand between you
ready to devour your flesh. However and your favorite hunting ground? That s
nifty these dice are, they are not righthit it with a stick! What could
strictly necessary for play. possibly go wrong?
Oh, and that shapely cavewoman from
the other tribe who makes you feel all
funny inside… You get the idea…
Character Classes
Each character class revolves around a
defining quality. These make you slightly Learned
better than your fellow tribesmen in a You re good at figuring out how to
particular area. perform actions, and to remember them
later. With your specialized abilities, you
might be able to cook, throw objects, or
Eloquent build things. You might even develop
By caveman standards, you are a new abilities previously unknown to
silver-tongued devil, capable of great your tribe.
feats of oratory. In other words, you
know a few more of the eighteen 18
words than anyone else does. You try to Fast
solve problems by talking your way You re fleet of foot, finding it easy
through them, and consider yourself to Evade blows. Fleeing from enemies
wildly persuasive. and dangerous creatures is a particular
specialty. When everything in the world
is bigger and tougher than you are,
Strong running away is nothing to be ashamed of.
You re a thick-necked, slope-browed
tower of rippling muscle. With ropy
sinews, you club down any enemies fool Tough
enough to step into your path. You may Somebody wants to hit you? Fine, let
not have the best aim, or hit as often as them hit you. You ve got tough skin.
the Banging caveman, but when you do And tough muscles, and tough bones,
club somebody, he stays clubbed. For and the squishy parts that come out of
the slow-witted, that means you deal people when a dinosaur bites them in
more damage. two… whatever you call it, yours are
tough, too. In other words, you take less
damage per hit than other cavemen.

9
Grunting tribe isn t alone in the world. Instead
Of all the caveman types, yours is you think there might be some
the most mysterious. When you find benevolent being watching over you,
yourself in an emergency, you can maybe from the sky or something. You
sometimes, by furiously grunting, can almost picture him, as a giant,
chanting, and flapping your arms, cause smiling caveman with a long white beard
events to turn in your favor in dramatic and a flowing loincloth that never gets
and unexpected ways. Here are some dirty. If you didn t know better, you
of the things you ve seen grunting might one day decide to attract his
accomplish: favors more often, maybe by chanting
and dancing or making sacrifices of
• Once a sabertooth tiger was chasing precious food to him…
you, and just when it was going to sink Wait a minute! Give away your food?
its massive teeth into your friend s That s crazy talk!
flesh, you grunted, and an eagle flew You ll just stick to grunting for now.
overhead and dropped a turtle onto the You may attempt to grunt once per
tiger s head and it yelped and ran away. scene. The GM decides what constitutes
• Once a pterodactyl dropped you from an entire scene. It may be a series of
a great height, and you grunted all the actions that takes place in one location
way down, and just before you hit the or in a set period. Or it may encapsulate
ground, a wind came up and blew you an entire encounter with a particular
onto a giant lily pad in a pond, break- character or creature.
ing your fall. When you grunt, roll two dice. If each
die comes up with the same number, a
• Another time you were on the edge of miraculous butt-saving event occurs 
a volcano when it exploded, but you unless you roll two ones snake eyes in
were blown free of the blast, and which case something even more devas-
landed safely in a tree. tatingly horrible happens.
Sometimes you think that your
grunting is proof that your pathetic

10
You Find Stuff
and Do Things
A
s play begins, you have a number of succeed on any result of 3 or higher.
abilities left to pick. You get to pick However, no matter how clever you
three abilities, unless you are a think you might be, you re still a slope-
Learned caveman, in which case you get browed mouth-breather. Whether you
six. have a skill or not, you are apt to blank
Abilities allow you to perform out any time you try anything remotely
particular tasks more effectively than difficult. On a roll of 1, you Forget How
the average caveman. to perform the task, if you ever knew
When you try to do something, you it at all. The GM thinks of the most
roll a die to see if you succeed or not. If disastrous, humiliating result short of
none of your abilities apply to the action outright killing you of your sudden
at hand, you succeed only on a result of lapse into utter stupidity, and then
5 or 6. If an ability does apply, you describes it to you. Slapstick hilarity

Difficulties
Og is not a game of it should be so difficult as You may be tempted to
co m p l i c a ted gradations. to be almost impossible. make certain tasks difficult
Almost all actions should Rule that only a character by splitting them up into
pose roughly the same with the relevant ability multiple rollsfor exam-
difficulty. GMs are advised can succeed at the task, and ple, requiring three Climb
to deviate from this simple only on a roll of 6. rolls to get up a mountain.
rule only when credibility Many actions should, D o n t do this; it make s
absolutely demands other- of course, be genuinely tasks punishingly difficult.
wise. And credibility can impossible. Cavemen can t
stretch a long, long way in a leap over mountains, build
slapstick caveman game. co m p u ters, or lift full-
If you need to make an grown woolly mammoths,
action extra difficult at all, no matter what they roll.

Exclusive Abilities Class Abilities


Some abilities are exclusive, Certain abilities are especially
meaning that if you don t have the good if you belong to a particular
ability, you can t attempt the related character class. Strong cavemen gain
action, at all, period, end of story. additional benefits from the Lift and
These are: Throw abilities. Tough cavemen get
Build Fire Weather more bang for their buck from
Cook Swim Resistance. Fast cavemen excel at
Draw Throw Run Away.

11
ensues, at your expense. Oops!
Dont forget to laugh when this
happens to the other players.
GMs wishing to add additional chaos
to their gamesand test their own
ingenuitycan add an optional rule.
Whenever you attempt to use an ability
and roll an actual 6, roll again. If the
second roll is also a success not necessari-
ly a 6, you Succeed Wildly, doing such a
great job that something surprising, funny,
slapstick and/or amazing happens. The
GM decides what this is, but, if stumped think to group the sticks and rocks and
for an answer, may solicit suggestions bones together, perhaps with some strips
from you or other players. of dried animal skins, and voila  youve
The list of starting abilities, with built something. Maybe its a temporary
explanations, is as follows. cave made of tree trunks and animal
skins, or a fish catcher made out of
Build sticks and strips of loincloth, or even a
Most cavemen look at all the sticks wheeled conveyance that travels down
and rocks and bones littering their envi- hills.
ronment and think to themselves, that Like any caveman, you have trouble
stuff is no good to eat, so what good is repeating past actions. Having made
it? You, on the other hand, occasionally a wheel or a lean-to on a previous

Technology Sucks
Items created with the If you see a lean-to, build? Maybe they hate
Build ability dont last very catapult, wheel or cart in and fear what they do not
long. When a caveman the hands of a neighbor or understand. Perhaps
sees an item of technology rival, you must make a theyre afraid that their
made by one of his clan Resist Destructive rivals will get a leg up on
mates, his first impulse is Impulse roll. You succeed them. Or perhaps, deep
to knock it around to see on a 5, unless you are a down inside, they
how sturdy it is. If not Learned caveman, in somehow sense that if
carefully watched, your which case you succeed on they permanently invent
own people will test any a 4. If you fail, you must the wheel, the plough and
invention to the breaking rush toward the item and metallurgy that it will
point. do your best to smash it a ll one day lead to
All cavemen, including into tiny pieces. infomercials, car alarms,
the most intrepid of Why are cavemen and regular security
builders, hate items possessed by this u p d a tes from the
of technology in the apparently irrational desire Microsoft Corporation.
possession of other clans. to destroy what others

12
occasion gives you no additional bearing materials to add color to their
advantage in trying to make one today. cave paintings. If you are a Learned
The roll always remains the same. caveman, you can add this last wrinkle
to your own repertoire.
Climb Without this ability, you can never
You can climb up stuff. Trees, rock draw diagrams, in or out of character, to
faces, the webs of giant spiders… you explain things to other players.
name it, you can climb it. To use this ability, the player must
Better yet, you can often climb back produce an actual drawing for the
down again, afterwards. benefit of the GM and other players.
Players may not write words. Modern
symbols, like stop signs, are also right
Cook out. When players are especially skilled
You can use fire to turn delicious raw
at illustration, GMs may handicap them
food into even more mouth-watering
by forcing them to draw with an entire
cooked food. The wise people of your
hand crudely clasped around the pen or
tribe claim that cooked food is less likely
pencil.
to make you sick than raw. Most people
In an ideal world, the GM will
don t care about this. They re all about
construct a sandpit in her living room
the tasty.
and force the player to draw in it with a
Note that you can use fire, but not
stick. We recognize, however, that not
necessarily make it. That requires a
everyone has this much preparation
separate abilitysee below.
time. Until such time as Firefly Games
markets its Instant Home Sandpit Set
Draw with or without special Tar Pit
With the drawing implement of your Extension Kit, GMs can consider
choice, you can make simple images that themselves excused from this obligation.
others will recognize as representing
features of their environment. This
Explore
ability covers drawing in the sand with
You know how to navigate your hostile
a stick or sketching on the walls with
prehistoric environment. You can
bits of charcoal. Advanced artistes may
remember where landmarks are, to find
even collect berries and other pigment-

An Unfortunate Ellipsis
The original picto- It imputes to them a vari- to omit this prolonged
graphic text of this ety of seco n d a ry in-joke, which ranks with
roleplaying text devotes abilities, from ante l o p e the renowned Lascaux
an entire section of wall stalking to personal auroch slipping on
to the drawing ability. At grooming to prodigious banana peel image as the
impressive length, it sexual prowess. pinnacle of Upper
explains that cavemen It is unfort u n a te that Paleolithic comedy.
who can draw are the the authors of this LSM
cleverest cavemen of all. adaptation have electe d

13
your way back to places you want to find yourself, your friends, and your clan by
your way back to, or to avoid places you harvesting fish from lakes, streams or
never want to return to again. You can seas. You probably fish by jumping into
tell your directions where the sun goes, the water and grabbing up the finny
where the sun goes from, to the left of morsels with your bare hands. If you are
where the sun goes, to the right of where a Learned caveman, you can fish by
the sun goes and find the easiest trails jabbing a sharpened stick into the water,
through thick forests and up treacherous spearing your quarry from the dry safety
mountainsides. When the elements of the shore. The first thing a fishing
threaten, you can find the nearest caveman learns is that there as many
halfway decent source of shelter, whether things in the water that want to eat him
it be a shallow cave mouth or a dense as the other way around.
canopy of trees. When hidden danger
looms, you can spot it before you get Forage
into trouble. This ability also comes in You can find edible plants in the
handy when trying to think your way wilderness. Perhaps more importantly,
around natural hazards, from avalanches you can tell plants that are good to eat
to the ever-present tar pits. from those that will kill you painfully
Explore does not allow you to find dead.
food, but makes a good complement to Forage also allows you to find non-
the abilities that do: Fish, Forage and plant foods that are more harvested than
Hunt. hunted, from honey to a lip-smacking
array of grubs and worms.
Fire
Whether Hide
by whacking In a world populated by T. Rexes
flint stones and sabertooth tigers, the ability to
together to find avoid being seen, smelled, heard
create or otherwise noticed can make the
sparks, or difference between a live caveman and a
by applying deceased one. This ability allows you to
friction to a find good hiding places, to remain
stick in a pile absolutely still when under observation,
of dry leaves, and to disguise yourself from the senses
you know how of the many creatures who are higher up
to summon on the food chain than you are.
that orange,
burning source Hunt
of both life and danger, fire. This ability allows you to gather
You have suggested to your clan mates food in the form of small, land-dwelling
that this ought to be grounds for their animals. This list includes mice, lizards,
worshipping you as a god, but somehow birds, snakes, and rabbits.
they refuse to take the hint. Bigger game can t be brought down
with a mere ability roll. Any character
Fish can join the hunt for a mammoth or
This ability allows you to find food for dinosaur, but they must kill it during a

14
knock-down, drag out combat. Such • They re injured and you re not.
large-scale hunts naturally bring with
• You re collectively bigger and
them the risk of being stomped, gored,
tougher than they are.
gnashed or otherwise subjected to the
affronted wrath of your designated • You enjoy some strategic advantage
dinner.  for example, you re above them
Hunt allows you to compensate for on a hillside, with big boulders to
the ability of edible, nonsentient roll down on them if they mess with
creatures to outpace your blows. During you.
combat, you may forgo an attack to
On a successful Intimidate roll, your
make a Hunt roll instead. If successful,
targets cautiously withdraw from the
all of your attacks against this creature
scene, keeping a close watch on you to
type for the remainder of the current
make sure you don t attack them as
combat are made as if its Evade has been
reduced by 1. If you Forget How to they retreat.
Hunt it, all of your attacks against it are GMs should be aware that many play-
ers like to Intimidate NPCs but hate to
made as if its Evade has been increased
be intimidated themselves.
by 1.This trick is of no use against
creatures with an Evade of 0.
You may also use Hunt to find soft Jump
spots in creatures natural armor. During You can jump over stuff. When
combat, you may forgo an attack to absolutely necessary, you can jump up
make a Hunt roll instead. If successful, into the air a fair ways, too.
all of your attacks against this creature
type for the remainder of the current Lift
combat are made as if its Armor has You can move heavy objects, such as
been reduced by 1. If you Forget How to slabs of rock, fallen logs, or medium-sized
Hunt it, all of your attacks against it are dinosaur carcasses. Moderately heavy
made as if its Armor has been increased objects can be lifted in their entirety.
by 1. This trick is of no use against Extremely heavy objects can be shifted
creatures with no Armor rating. slightly out of their current positions.
If you re a Strong caveman, you
Intimidate succeed on any result other than a 1.
You can scare cavemen and other
quasi-intelligent beings, discouraging Resistance
them from attacking or confronting When you re at risk of sickness,
you. You do this by making yourself exhaustion or poisoning, roll your
fearsome, beating your chest, stomping Resistance ability to see if you take any
about, and brandishing your weapons. damage or suffer any other ill effects.
Intimidate only works when the On a success, you suffer scarcely a
objects of your browbeating attempt sniffle, yawn, or shudder of nausea,
might credibly believe they re better off as the case may be. On a failure,
retreating. At least one of the following you succumb to whatever negative
conditions must apply to allow a chance consequences await you.
of success: If you re a Tough caveman, you
succeed on any result other than a 1.
• You outnumber your rivals.

15
Romance
It s all about propagation of the
species, baby. To ensure the survival of
your clan, you must attract fertile mates.
Bopping them on the cranium and drag-
ging them off to your cave is one thing,
but keeping them around when the
headache wears off requires mastery
of the arts of primeval love. With this
ability you can woo cavepersons you find
attractive into the hubba-hubba warmth
of your bearskin blanket.
Romance is not hypnosis; the subject

Movement Speeds
Players of modern role- When further definition is meant to represent the
playing games often is needed, it defaults to original game designer,
wonder exactly what whatever is funniest. and his victim a
movement capacity the One pictogram near tendentious rules lawyer
cavemen and creatures of the Run Away description hoping in vain for a more
Og possess. Rather than shows a particularly slope- mathematical approach to
defining this precisely as b r o wed caveman being movement rates.
a number of feet per pummeled by an angry, LSM
round, the system prefers dashingly handsome cave-
to abstract it through use man. Scholars believe that
of the Run Away ability. the pummeling caveman

Measurements
Regrettably, the mod- a rock up to 12 snakes combatants in a LARP
ernizers of this game have away, or a jav e l i n - l i ke Live Action Roleplaying
chosen to adopt the US stick up to 56 snakes. To setting.
m e asurement standards, what degree the cavemen Although the players
rather than maintain the of Montignac achieved and GM may prefer to
paleolithic measurement standardized measure- think of measurement
system provided on the ment through the use of in familiar terms, the
w a lls of the Montignac snakes remains unknown. characters probably know
caves. The Cro-Magnon One particularly vivid only near, far, and very
designers of the original image from the cave walls far. Even then, they begin
game used snakes as their shows a caveman being play without words to
core unit of distance painfully bitten by a articulate these abstract
measurement. The snake while atte m p t i n g concepts.
throwing rules allowed a to use it to measure LSM
Strong caveman to throw the distance between

16
of your wooing must be somewhat approximately 150 feet, unless you a
receptive to your charms to begin Strong caveman, in which case you can
with. PC cavewomen can always resist throw it up to 200 feet.
the charms of wooing cavemen if they If you have this ability, you can use
choose to do so, and vice-versa. your Attack value to lob rocks and other
missiles at your combat opponents,
Run Away striking them from a comparatively safe
The first rule of caveman survival is: distance. To hit an enemy hard enough
when in doubt, run away. The world to do damage to them, you must be
is full of nasty creatures that are way within one-third of your maximum range
bigger than you are and think of you as for that type of missile.
lunch. If you re lucky, you and your clan
mates might be able to gang up and fell Tiptoe
that rampaging mammoth or thundering Sometimes, when you re attempting to
T. Rex, but why rely on luck when you avoid something that wants to eat you,
can head for the hills instead? mere stationary hiding is not enough.
The run away ability measures not When you need to move silently past a
only your flat-out running speed, but also place of danger, rely on your Tiptoe
your ability to maneuver confusingly, ability to provide the necessary stealth.
seek out favorable terrain, put obstacles
between yourself and your pursuer, and Weather
generally make yourself not worth the You can predict what the weather will
effort of catching and devouring. be like later on in the same day. You can
If you succeed at your roll, you get also predict in advance the consequences
away from whatever s chasing you. If of various climactic conditions. As a
you re a Fast caveman, you succeed on result, you know to get off the mountain
any result other than a 1. when a mudslide is imminent. You ve
Every character gets this ability auto- also figured out that standing out in the
matically. rain is unpleasant and can lead to illness.

Swim
You can move through the water with-
out risk of drowning. Well, unless you
Forget How. Then it s glug, glug, glug
time.

Throw
Nearly any item you can lift one-
handed, you can toss, hitting a target
with reasonable accuracy.
The maximum distance you can throw
a rock is 50 feet, give or take, unless you
are a Strong caveman, in which case you
can throw it 65 feet.
You can throw a sharpened stick up to

17
You Hit Things
With Rocks and Clubs
A
lthough running away is almost
always better than fighting, you are
probably stupid and prone to get
Rounds
A fight resolves in a series of rounds.
into fights anyway. Each character or creature who is able to
Many of your fights will be with fellow act does so in initiative order. When the
player characters. They are even stupider combatant with the lowest initiative
than you, and can t understand your ranking completes its action, that round
brilliant plans when you tell them to Go ends and a new one begins, with the
smelly. Go bang smelly. Also, they may combatant with the highest initiative
have stuff you want, like tasty morsels of ranking going first. Then all combatants
food or an inside track to bed a comely who are able to act do so, in the same
cavewoman from the next clan over. order. The combat continues until
Nothing resolves problems like a smack one group of combatants is unable or
upside the head with a tree branch. unwilling to fight any longer. Combatants
Whether hunting for big game, battling who are unwilling to fight may flee the
to avoid becoming dinosaur chow, or scene. Characters unable to fight have
smacking around deserving party probably succumbed to their injuries,
members, here s how combat works. and are at the victors mercy.

Initiative Attacking
When hostilities break out, every When it s your turn to hit, make an
creature or caveman who might become Attack roll. If your target has a Evade or
involved in the fight rolls for initiative, Armor value, your Attack value roll is
adding their Evade values to the roll reduced by that number. Neither Evade
of a single die. The GM ranks the nor Armor increases your chances of
combatants by initiative result, from Forgetting How in combat.
highest to lowest. Combatants get to Only creatures, usually armored
act in the order of their initiative dinosaurs, have Armor values.
ranking. If combatants tie for initiative, If your roll meets or exceed your
the GM breaks ties as follows: Attack value, your Damage value is
Fast cavemen go before anybody else. subtracted from the target s Unggghh
Player characters go before creatures point total.
and other cavemen. If you roll a 1, you Forget How to
If a conflict still exists between player attack. You not only fail to harm your
characters, the player who arrived at the opponent, but cannot launch an attack
gaming session first gets precedence. during the subsequent round.You not
If a conflict still exists between only fail to hit your opponent this time
creatures or characters controlled by the around, but don t get to attack at all
GM, who cares? The GM chooses by during the subsequent round, either.
whim, or the order the creatures appear You may attack normally the round
in her notes. after that.

19
Getting Damaged
When you take damage, your
Unggghh point total is temporarily
reduced by the number of points of
damage suffered.
Although you may look bruised,
bloodied, or otherwise harmed, nothing
bad happens to you until you run out
of Unggghh points entirely. When this
happens, you become
incapacitated. You are unconscious,
unless the GM deems it funnier that
youre still awake and aware, but unable
to move, speak, or do anything.
If you are incapacitated but your
fellow cavemen are still fighting your wait for your clan mates to come around
opponents, you can generally count on to negotiate for your return. Most often
being left alone to lie there unmolested they trade you for food, mates, or territory.
in your dazed or unconscious state. Other beings may have other plans in
If you are incapacitated and none of store for you. For example, if you are
your allies are present to distract your defeated and taken away by ancient
opponents, they can do what they want astronauts, expect a thorough probing.
with you, including kill you. Exceptionally nasty cavemen may kill
Carnivorous creatures will do just you on the spot. A few are cannibals,
that. They dine on your flesh, spit out and will act as carnivorous creatures,
your bones, crack them to get at the though possibly with a pause as they
marrow, then… well, you get the point. heat up the water in a stone cooking
Herbivorous creatures ignore you as pot. The time it takes to cook you
soon as you cease to be a threat to them. and peel the vegetables may give your
Unless you made them really, really mad. comrades the chance to come and
Quasi-intelligent beings, like other rescue you.
cavemen, typically carry you back to If youve been exceptionally nasty to
their caves, where they restrain you and your neighboring tribes, by killing their

Early Criticism
The portion of the ing yours truly, have inter- before. Thus we have the
Montignac wall contain- p r e ted this as first recorded example of
ing rules on bringing a complaint about a gamer criticism, making
replacement characte r s the realism of having new this section of barely
into the game contains a player characters sudden- coherent scrawling the
series of picto g r a m s ly appear in the midst of a p r i m eval predecessor of
etched in what appears to presumably small clan, todays RPGnet.
be a shaky, later hand. without ever having LSM
Several scholars, includ- appeared in the narrative

20
cavemen instead of ransoming them or recover 2 lost Unggghh Points every eight
leaving them to wake up, you can expect hours. Or they might be just as inhos-
the same harsh treatment from them. pitable as open country.

Death: Its Fleeing Combat


Permanent Now that you ve seen how badly it
sucks to be incapacitated, you might be
If you do die, there s no coming back.
Your character has irrevocably joined thinking, Hey, maybe I should get the
the fossil record. Get a fresh character hell out of there when I m getting
sheet and create a new caveman. This creamed in combat!
caveman, though never seen before in Congratulations. You are now thinking
the story, is presumably from the same like a caveman.
tribe as the others, who ve known him When it is your turn to attack, you
all along. may forgo that attack to withdraw from
the fight. You can t do this when you
have lost an upcoming attack by
Getting Forgetting How, or by paying the price
Undamaged to use a Combat Add-On see below.
Cavemen may be dumb and hapless, Roll against your Run Away ability. If
but the upside is that they heal more successful, you deke out of the fight
quickly than modern man. By spending unscathed. As long as you keep running
an evening recuperating in your home from the scene, you succeed in putting a
cave, you regain all lost Unggghh Points, considerable distance between yourself
even if you were reduced to 0 Unggghh and your pursuers.
Points during a fight or other incident. If you fail, you still get away, but your
If you are incapacitated, your fellows enemy gets a final shot at you before you
must bear you back to your home cave go. The enemy makes a free, immediate
in order to allow for your recuperation. attack roll, dealing damage to you if
If forced to recuperate while exposed successful. This attack is in addition
to the elements, you still regain 1 lost to any attacks your opponent may
Unggghh Point every eight hours. ordinarily make.
If taken to a shelter other than your
home cave, the GM may or may not
allow you to heal up. Other cavemen
Missiles
Although confronting your enemy
taking you prisoner may give you enough
nose-to-nose brings with it its own
food and water to keep you alive, but
visceral satisfactions, you may find it
will likely leave you tied up and unable
safer to stand at a remove and pelt
to properly rest. You will probably
your enemies with sticks and stones.
regain only 1 Unggghh Point. This will
Missile combat works pretty much
be enough to allow you to attempt an
like regular close combat, except that
escape, but few enough that they ll be
your opponent may not be able to
able to easily beat you down if they
respond if he has no missiles at hand, or
catch you sneaking off.
is a dinosaur or giant sloth or whatever.
Some shelters are only partially
Those guys never use missiles for some
adequate. Especially cold or hot caves,
reason.
for example, might allow you to
You must have the Throw ability to

21
players may grow impatient with the
straight-ahead dumbassedness of it all
and yearn for a few tactical decisions to
make during fights. If this happens,
humor them by introducing the following
optional add-on rules. Because they add
engage in missile combat. The maximum complexity to a game best enjoyed for its
effective distances from which you can brain-dead simplicity, we advise against
harm opponents while using missiles are using them until your players clamor for
listed under the description for this them.
ability. Except where otherwise noted, to use
No matter what your damage value is a combat add-on, you must forgo your
in standard combat, it never exceeds 1 normal attack. You may not use a
while using missiles. combat add-on if you have lost your
Opponents without missiles will typi- normal attack, for example by
cally charge, erasing the gap between Forgetting How.
you, so they can stomp you close up. If you Forget How while using a
combat-add on, this current fancy
Other Ways To attack automatically fails, and you
Get Hurt lose your next attack, too.
Combat is only the most obvious way a Any caveman may use any combat
caveman can get hurt. In other potentially add-on.
damaging situations, the GM gives you a You may never use more than one
chance to roll an applicable ability, like add-on per round.
Climb, Explore, Jump, Swim or Tiptoe, to
avoid being hurt. If no ability applies, Fast Chest Thump
cavemen succeed on a roll of 4 or more, Once per round, you may attempt a
and others succeed on a 5 or more. Chest Thump, interrupting a caveman
Most ways to get hurt only do 1 point or creature who is about to launch an
of damage. GMs assess greater damage attack a target other than yourself. The
only where even the credibility of a slap- interrupted creature must be close
stick caveman story would be stretched enough to attack you instead of its
by anything less. Certain hazards may chosen target. Roll a die; to succeed, you
lead to instant death. These should only must get a 4 or more, unless you are an
be presented to the characters if they Eloquent caveman, in which case you
have multiple opportunities to avoid need a 3. If you are successful, the
them. creature switches targets, attacking
you instead.
Combat AddOns
Fighting in Og is meant to be straight- Cower
forward, thudding, and stupid. You try When you re about to be attacked,
to hit the other guy with a club. He tries you may declare that you are Cowering.
to hit you with a club. You try to hit You devote all of your energy and
him. He tries to hit you. He hits you. attention to making yourself a poor
You hit him. Ugh. Oof. Growl. target. Your precise cowering technique
After a few sessions, though, your depends on terrain features. You may be

22
flattening yourself against a wall, diving through the air.
into bushes, or simply crouching and The weapon lands in the unluckiest
whimpering. For whatever reason, the place possible for the disarmed caveman,
whimpering is hugely helpful. Maybe it s as determined by the GM. If the terrain
related to Grunting. offers a halfway-plausible chance for the
At any rate, any damage scored against weapon to be lost forever, or at least for
you by that creature this round is the duration of the fight, that s where it
reduced by 1. You must forgo your next goes. It might, for example, land in a
attack, as if you Forgot How while river, sink into a tar pit, or be snapped
attacking. You may not Cower if you from the air by a passing pteranodon.
already have to forgo an attack because Even in the land of Og, GMs with an
you have Forgotten How. eye for plausibility should restrict
themselves to one flying-creature-
Disarm weapon-catch per session.
If you succeed with a roll of 5 or 6 in If the GM can t credibly explain the
an attack against an armed caveman, you loss of a weapon, it lands several feet
may forgo the chance to damage your away from the skirmish in progress. In
opponent, and instead Disarm him. The this case, the caveman can retrieve it by
rock or club he s carrying goes flying forgoing his attack for 2 rounds, or 1

Weapons
Standard Og co m b a t Any character can do 1 damage.
doesn t wo r ry its thick- point of damage bare- Cavemen making biting
b r o wed head about handed. Characters who attacks suffer additional
weapons. It assumes that can only do 1 point of risk. Their opponents
cavemen have rocks or damage can get away with may respond with an
big chunks of tree branch not carrying a weapon. immediate Grab or Shove
which double as clubs, To be eligible to deal 2 attempt. Neither attempt
and that they use them to or more points of damage requires them to give
hit each other with. in a single blow, you must up their forgo their next
When they can t use a be carrying a weapon of normal attacks. They
rock or club they smash some kind or another, or may even do this if they
each other with fists or be willing to get in close have Forgotten How to
maybe bite each other or enough to deliver a bite. attack.
whatever. This rule applies to Any character can carry
If you introduce the Banging cavemen as well a weapon.
combat add-ons, weapons as to other cavemen who These rules apply to
matter a little bit more. enjoy a momentary other cavemen but not to
Weapons do not damage advantage, such creatures.
increase the amount of as that gained against a
damage you deal. Grabbed opponent, or
Ho wever, to deal 2 from a Reckless Swipe. If
or more points of you have no weapon and
damage, you must are unwilling to bite,
be carrying a weapon. you deal only 1 point of

23
the grab to remain in effect.
By forgoing its normal attack, a
grabbed creature or caveman may try
to break your hold on it. Cavemen and
creatures as small or smaller than cave-
men succeed on a 4 or more. Creatures
bigger than cavemen succeed on a 3 or
more, as do Strong cavemen.
While grabbed, the creature s Evade
rating decreases by 1.
A Grabbed creature can t also be
Distracted.
You can t effectively grab anything
that is significantly bigger than you are.
If you try, it will probably drag you
painfully across the landscape, to your
detriment and its annoyance.

Lure
At the beginning of a round, you
round if he is a Fast caveman. announce that you are attempting to
Creatures, who have natural weapons Lure an opponent to a particular spot on
like saber teeth, tusks, horns, or the field of battle. All of your opponents
thagomizers, can t be Disarmed. get an attack bonus against you for the
duration of the round. Before your
Distract attack, make a Lure roll to see if you
You make a fake attack against an maneuver your opponent to the desired
opponent meant to Distract it and location. This succeeds on a 4, unless
throw it off balance. Make an attack roll, you are a Fast cavemen, in which case
as normal. If you succeed, you do no you succeed on a 3.
damage to the target, but any other You may want to Lure an opponent
attack made against that creature during away from an incapacitated and tasty
the current round gains an attack bonus. fellow cave-mate, or toward a hazard
such as a magma flow, tar pit, or
precipice. In the latter instance, the
Grab Shove add-on below serves as the
You may attempt to Grab an
other half of a potent combination.
opponent, reducing its freedom of
movement. In place of your regular
attack, make a Grab roll. You succeed Opportunistic Strike
on a 4, unless you are a Strong caveman, When an opponent is about to attack
in which case you succeed on a 3. When you, you may declare an Opportunistic
a creature is grabbed, all successful Strike. If the opponent fails to hit you,
attacks against it score an additional you may make an immediate counterat-
point of damage. tack against him. If you succeed, you do
You cannot do anything, including +1 damage. By making an Opportunistic
attack the grabbed creature, if you want Strike, you forgo your next attack, as if

24
you Forgot How while attacking. You Tough caveman. On a success, you
may not use this option if you have regain 1 Unggghh Point.
already Forgotten How.
Shove
Plink You can forgo a normal attack to push
When launching an attack, you gain your opponent up to three feet away
an attack bonus of 1. If you hit, your from you. You can move him straight
damage is reduced by 1. Even the dumb- back, back and to your left, or back and
est caveman knows to Plink only if his to your right. You succeed on a roll of 4,
normal damage would be 2 or more. unless you are a Strong caveman, in
which case you succeed on a 3.
Purple Nerple Shove is only really useful if there s
You may elect to attack an opponent something bad waiting for your
barehanded, with the objective of inflict- opponent when he stops, like a cliff.
ing a impermanent but disabling muscle You may only use Shove against
trauma. After a successful attack, make a opponents who are either a no larger
Purple Nerple roll, which succeeds on a than you are or b facing a significant
4 3 if you re a Banging caveman. On a disadvantage of leverage. You can only
success, the opponent suffers an attack shove a woolly mammoth after you ve
penalty for the remainder of the current maneuvered him onto, for example, an
combat, or until he successfully performs enormous makeshift teeter-totter, which,
a Shake It Off. believe me, is easier said than done.
Purple Nerple is a viable attack only
against creatures with a conventional Skull Thickness
musculature. Creatures like worms, Demonstration
insects, and crustaceans are immune to You may forgo your usual attack to
its effects. engage in a Skull Thickness
Demonstration, whereby you smack
Reckless Swipe yourself in the head with a club or rock.
You may elect to make a Reckless Make a Resistance roll.
Swipe instead of a normal attack. On a success, the club breaks or the
Ignoring your own safety, you charge at rock crumbles. So make sure you have
your opponent, swinging all-out. If you a spare on hand if you wish to fight
hit, you score an additional point of armed. You take no damage. Any
damage. Any attacks made against you sentient beings, including cavemen,
until your own next attack or the end of ancient astronauts, monkey-men and
the subsequent round, whichever comes lizard people, suffer a -1 attack penalty
first gain an attack bonus of 1. against you. The penalty remains in
effect until one of them damages you, or
Shake It Off until the end of the combat, whichever
When you take 2 or more points of happens first.
damage in a single blow, you can forgo On a failure, you deal your normal
your next attack to try to shake off its damage to yourself.
painful effects. Your Shake It Off roll
succeeds on a 4 or on a 3, if you re a

25
Violent Frenzy
Instead of launching a normal attack,
you can go into a Violent Frenzy, hooting,
frothing at the mouth, and striking out
at everything in sight. Roll a die; you
succeed on a 5, or on a 4 if you re a Fast
caveman. If you re successful, you get
two attacks, which you can direct against
a single opponent, or against two
separate nearby opponents. If you fail,
you get one normal attack, and must
make a second attack against the
nearest other player character.
If there are no other player
characters present, you smack
yourself in the face, taking 1
damage.

26
You Get Eaten
C
avemen want to find creatures, so ened. Omnivores swing both ways.
they can kill and eat them. Most Food value tells you how many days
creatures want to find cavemen, to eating your clan will get from the
kill and eat them. Isn t a circular food animal s carcass, if you succeed in
chain wonderful? killing it and dragging it back to your
Creatures appear in the following cave. Creatures with a food value of
format. meal provide only enough food for the
Where necessary, we start with a group of PC cavemen to eat a single
brief description of the creature. This is meal together. Often these are eaten
omitted for well-known modern animals. out on the trail. A food value of snack
means they provide momentary
Caveman name shows you the term nourishment to only a single character.
cavemen use to describe the creature, Food value is omitted for creatures
in their limited vocabulary. who are too revolting or sentient
Unggghh points tells you how much dam- to eat.
age they can sustain before dying. Meat keeps for only about 5 days
If the creature has a Evade or before it starts to go bad. Excess goes
Armor value, that is listed next. to waste unless it is traded to other
Attacks describes the way they hurt you. clans within its freshness window.
Two numbers are given in brackets Cavemen typically accept labor,
after each attack. The first is its shelter, information, mates, or
accuracythe number it needs to roll promises of future
on a d6 to hit its target. The second cooperation in
number is the damage: the number of exchange for
Unggghh Points you lose if excess meat.
it succeeds in hitting you. Some
creatures get multiple attacks.
Eating habits tells you if the creature
is carnivorous, herbivorous, or
omnivorous. Carnivorous animals
will aggressively hunt cavemen.
Herbivores attack only when threat-

Multiple Attacks
By default, creatures threatening enemy in the If one of a creature s
who can hit more case of herbivores. multiple attacks is with its
than once per round Omnivores conce n t r a te tail, it must almost always
concentrate their attacks their attacks like direct that attack against a
on either the most carnivores if they re secondary opponent. It
vulnerable victim in the attacking to capture prey, lashes its tail at the most
case of carnivores or and like herbivores if conveniently placed
their most apparently they re being attacked. enemy.

27
Allosaurus Ape
A bipedal dinosaur equipped with a Caveman name: Hairy Big Stick Thing
massive bite and tiny useless little fore- Unggghh points: 5
arms, about which it is very sensitive. Evade: 1
An average specimen is about 15 feet Attacks: bite 3, 1
high and a little less than 40 feet long. Eating habits: Omnivorous
Caveman name: Big Smelly Bang Thing Food value: Meal
Unggghh points: 24
Attacks: bite 3, 4 Auroch
Eating habits: Carnivorous Large wild cattle whose bulls are
Food value:7 equipped with sharp, outward-curving
horns.
Ancient Astronaut Caveman name: Big Food Thing
These smooth-skinned, hairless, Unggghh points: 8
bug-eyed, short-statured humanoids Attacks: horns 4, 1, trample 3, 1; cows
periodically descend from the skies in get only the trample attack.
their flying saucers to conduct unethical Eating habits: Herbivorous
and/or kinky scientific experiments on Food value: 4
caveman subjects. Their caveman name
derives from their sleep rays, which Baboon
knock cavemen unconscious so that they These vicious primates patrol the
can be probed. Ancient astronauts are savannah in packs.
trying to make cavemen more intelligent Caveman name: Hairy Thing
by showing them how to build pyramids Unggghh points: 4
and primitive batteries, but so far their Evade: 1
project has shown no signs of success. Attacks: bite 4, 1
Caveman name: Shiny Sleep Thing Eating habits: Omnivorous
Unggghh points: 6 Food value: Meal
Evade: 1
Attacks: Ray gun 2, 6 or puts caveman to Baluchitherium
sleep. Ray gun can be used from These 15-ton gigantic land mammals are
up to 50 feet away. fifteen feet high and about 26 feet high.
Eating habits: Herbivorous They graze on trees.
Caveman name: Big Big Food Thing
Anklyosaurus Unggghh points: 32
An armored quadrupedal dinosaur, about Attacks: stomp 3, 2
thirty feet long, with a heavy turtle-like Eating habits: Herbivorous
plate protecting its upper body. Strikes Food value:14
with a bony, clubbed tail.
Caveman name: Big Thing Bear, Black
Unggghh points: 36 Caveman name: Hairy Cave Smelly
Armor: 3 Unggghh points: 8
Attacks: clubbed tail 4, 3 Attacks: bite 4,1, right paw swipe 4,1,
Eating habits: Herbivorous left paw swipe 3,1
Food value: 7 Eating habits: Omnivorous
Food value: 2

28
Bear, Cave Big Cat
A two-ton gigantic and ill-tempered bear A catch-all category for lions, tigers,
who, if it does not have a cave of its own jaguars, and cheetahs. Knock off a
to live in, would probably very much like few Unggghh Points for
to live in yours. the former.
Caveman name: Big Hairy Cave Smelly Caveman name: Hairy Thing
Unggghh points: 32 Unggghh points: 16
Attacks: bite 4,2, right paw swipe 5,2, Evade: 1
left paw swipe 3,1 Attacks: bite 2,2, claw slash 5,1
Eating habits: Omnivorous Eating habits: Carnivorous
Food value: 9 Food value: 3

Beaver, Giant Boar


Like a present-day beaver, except it s Caveman name: Small Smelly
three feet long and comes up to your Unggghh points: 4
waist. Evade: 2 during first round, 1
Caveman name: Hairy Water Thing during subsequent rounds
Unggghh points: 6 Attacks: tusk 3,1
Attacks: bite 5,2, tail slap 5,1 Eating habits: Herbivorous
Eating habits: Herbivorous Food value: 2
Food value: 3

Cavemen and Dinosaurs


Caveman RPGs typ i- dinosaurian species, Australia and North
cally include a disclaimer including detailed America were also
in which the author monster stats. Since known in Europe.
assures you that he its Paleolithic designers Despite the incontro-
knows that millions of had not discovered vertible evidence of this
years of prehistory archaeology, there is only discovery, as described in
separated dinosaurs and one explanation for this: my upcoming scholarly
cavemen, but then says direct observation. tome Paleontologists Are A
that the two have been Cavemen and dinosaurs Pack Of Idiots, the close-
combined because it s really did coexist! minded bone-scrapers of
more fun that way. With Paleontologists have had the academy have yet to
the Montignac discovery, it completely wrong all publicly repudiate their
such mealy-mouthed these years. Not only thoroughly demolished
pronouncements are that, but dinosaurs old theories. The world s
f o r ce f u lly consigned to coexisted with that era s gamers, at least, will now
history s dumpster. exotic mammalian know the real truth. The
The original game megafauna. Further still, truth they re afraid to tell
inscribed on its walls species of oversized you.
includes accurate illustra- p r e h i s toric mammals —LSM
tions of a range of supposedly limited to

29
Bobcat Eating habits: Herbivorous
Caveman name: Hairy Thing Food value:8
Unggghh points: 4
Evade: 1 Crocodile, Giant
Attacks: bite 3,1 Caveman name: Big Big Water Smelly
Eating habits: Carnivorous, but does not Unggghh points: 24
treat healthy cavemen as prey Attacks: bite 2,3, tail lash 3,2
Food value: 1/2 Eating habits: Carnivorous
Food value:4
Brachiosaurus
An enormous sauropod dinosaur with Crocodile, Regular
longer front limbs than back limbs, the Caveman name: Big Water Smelly
brachiosaurus is about 80 feet long and Unggghh points: 12
can weighs up to 38 tons. Its tiny Attacks: bite 2,2, tail lash 3,1
elevated head looks down at you Eating habits: Carnivorous
from about 40 feet up. Food value:2
Caveman name: Big Big Thing
Unggghh points: 48 Dinohyus Terrible Pig
Attacks: right forward stomp 3,8, left A ten-foot long giant boar who wants to
forward stomp 4,8, tail lash gore you with his lethal tusks.
5,3 Caveman name: Big Smelly
Eating habits: Herbivorous Unggghh points: 12
Food value: 48 Evade: 1
Attacks: tusk 3,2
Brontosaurus Eating habits: Herbivorous
An equally massive relative of Food value: 4
Brachiosaurus, with evenly elevated
front and back legs.
Caveman name: Big Big Thing
Unggghh points: 52
Attacks: right forward stomp 3,8, left
forward stomp 4,8, tail lash
5,3
Eating habits: Herbivorous
Food value:52

Brontotherium
Eight feet tall and two tons heavy, these
big grazers sport rhino-like horns on
their noses. Their shovel-like mouths
scoop in massive gulps of vegetation.
Caveman name: Big Hairy Thing
Unggghh points: 28
Attacks: horn 3,3

30
Diprotodon shock and blood loss.
The diprotodon is ten feet long and six Eating habits: Omnivorous
feet tall as measured from the shoulder. Food value: 5
Foolish paleontologists believe that this
gigantic wombat lived only in Australia, Glyptodont
but the logic of coolness suggests that it This two-ton armadillo scuttles around
surely co-existed with cavemen, under a dome of essentially impenetrable
dinosaurs, and mammoths. However, bony armor, with a matching crest of
given its extreme meatiness and lack of bone on top of its head.
appreciable attacks, it probably won t be Caveman name: Rock Thing
co-existing for long. Unggghh points:8
Caveman name: Hairy Food Thing Armor: 3
Unggghh points: 12 Attacks: none
Attacks: none Eating habits: Herbivorous
Eating habits: Herbivorous Food value:
Food value: 8
Gorilla
Elk, Irish Caveman name: Hairy Big Stick Thing In
What s more impressive than a deer this context, big stick means a tree.
that s 7 feet tall at the shoulders? A deer The gorilla actually prefers thickly vege-
with a 12-foot antler span, that s what. tated jungle floors to trees, but then
Caveman name: Hairy Food Thing cavemen don t have words for jungle,
Unggghh points: 12 floor, or thickly vegetated.
Attacks: antler swipe 2,2 Unggghh points:9
Eating habits: Herbivorous Evade: 1
Food value: 8 Attacks: bite 3,2 right fist pummel 5,1
Eating habits: Omnivorous
Gigantopithecus Food value: 1
This bipedal ape displays the coloration
and facial construction of an orangutan Iguanodon
and is three times bigger than the A class of bipedal plant-eating dinosaurs,
modern gorilla, hitting the scales at including the jaunty and charming duck-
around a thousand pounds and towering billed dinosaur. They range in height
to a height of nine feet. They are from about 30 to 36 feet, and weigh in
peaceful until enraged, at which point at over 5 tons.
they fight with frothing determination. Caveman name: Big Thing
Caveman name: Big Hairy Unggghh points: 20
Unggghh points: 15 Attacks: tail lash 5,1
Evade: 1 Eating habits: Herbivorous
Attacks: bite 4,1, arm pull 2,2. In Food value:28
this last maneuver, the
gigantopithecus grabs your arm Kangaroo, Giant Carnivorous
and attempts to tear it out of its
socket. If it reduces you to 0
Ekaltadeta
Yes, there were giant carnivorous
Unggghh Points, he does indeed
kangaroos. They had big spike-like fangs
tear your arm off, and you die of

31
jutting from their lower jaws. Honestly. killed, it is somehow dislodged,
Caveman name: Hairy Go Go Thing or the victim dies.
Unggghh points: 9 Eating habits: Carnivorous
Evade: 1
Attacks: Tooth stab 3,2 Mammoth
Eating habits: Carnivorous An enormous elephant with huge
Food value: 1 curving tusks, sometimes covered in a
shaggy layer of fur. An especially large
Lizard Person specimen is about 14 feet high
These tall, thin humanoids, covered in and weighs 7 tons.
green reptilian skin, inhabit elaborate Caveman name: Big Hairy
artificial cave networks below ground Unggghh points: 28
and carved into the sides of mountains. Attacks: tusk 4,3 right forward stomp
Sometimes they wield items of 4,2, left forward stomp 5,2
technology which they do not appear Eating habits: Herbivorous
to fully understand, as if they are a Food value: 14
devolved remnant of a much more
advanced ancient civilization. Mastodon
Large, black unblinking eyes dominate Like the mammoth, but less so. About 9
their grotesque faces. Bony crests appear feet high and 5 tons of heavy.
on the top of their heads. Lizard people Caveman name: Big Hairy
hunt and eat cavemen. Cavemen do not Unggghh points: 24
eat lizard people, though not out of Attacks: tusk 4,2 right forward stomp
moral concernlizard person meat 4,1, left forward stomp 5,1
tastes unbearably rancid. Eating habits: Herbivorous
Communication with the lizard people Food value: 12
is impossible. They, too, know only 18
words, but they re all hisses of various
lengths.
Megatherium Giant Sloth
This elephant-scaled ground sloth
Caveman name: Smelly Cave Thing
doesn t seem so slothful when he s
Unggghh points:9
ripping you apart with his impressively
Armor: 1
long claws. He weighs up to 5 tons and,
Attacks: treat as Banging caveman
when he stands up, is about 20 feet high.
Eating habits: Carnivorous
Although not a hunter, he frequently
takes over the kills of other predators.
Leech, Giant Caveman name: Big Smelly Hairy
A hazard in inland waters, the giant Unggghh points: 28
leech is about six feet long and always Attacks: bite 4,1, right claw jab 3,2, left
hungry for blood. claw jab 4,2
Caveman name: Smelly Water Thing Eating habits: Omnivorous and grabby
Unggghh points: 6 Food value: 12
Attacks: blood-draining bite 5,1. After
hitting once, it has attached
its sucker to the victim and
continues to do 1 point of
damage per round until it is

32
Rhino, Woolly
Like a modern rhino, but woolly, twelve
feet long, and weighing 2 1/2 tons.
Caveman name: Hairy Bang Thing
Unggghh points: 20
Attacks: horn 5,2. Damage is 3
immediately following a
charge, a maneuver it uses
when entering a fight.
Eating habits: Herbivorous
Food value: 6

Sabertooth Tiger
Lion-sized big cat with impressively
outsized curved canine teeth.
Caveman name: Hairy Thing
Unggghh points: 16
Evade: 1
MonkeyMan Attacks: bite 3,3, claw slash 4
Resembling the dudes from the Eating habits: Carnivorous
beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, these Food value: 3
ape-like humanoids represent the miss-
ing link between cavemen and hairy tree
things. The GM creates them like
Spider, Giant
The large webs spun by these car-sized
Cavemen characters, except that they
arachnids can entrap cavemen, but also
can only be Strong, Banging, Fast or
tend to be conveniently placed to save
Tough. Monkey-men don t use words at
their lives when falling off the sides of
all, only grunts. They eat cavemen and
vice versa. mountains.
Caveman name: Hairy Cave Thing
Caveman name: Hairy Smelly
Unggghh points: 14
Unggghh points: see above
Armor: 1
Attacks: fight like cavemen
Attacks: mandible 4,1. A successful bite
Eating habits: Omnivorous
injects a caveman with venom.
Food value: 1
Each round thereafter, the
caveman gets a Resistance roll
Pteranodon to see if he shrugs off the
The bat-like wings of these flying poison. On a success, he takes
reptiles span to an astonishing 30 feet. no damage this round and need
Their long beaks act as spearing not roll again against the bite of
weapons. that particular giant spider. On
Caveman name: Big Shiny Go Thing a failure, he takes 1 damage.
Unggghh points: 14 Effects of multiple spider bites
Evade: 1 are not cumulative.
Attacks: beak peck 2,2. Eating habits: Carnivorous
Eating habits: Carnivorous
Food value: 1/2

33
Stegosaurus Eating habits: Herbivorous
This tiny-headed quadrupedal dinosaur Food value: 14
is famed for the set of enormous
diamond-shaped bony plates jutting Tyrannosaurus Rex
from its spine, and even more so for the 40 feet tall. Weighs 6 to 8 tons. Either
four sharp spikes on the end of its tail. you know the rest, or you ve never been
These are collectively known as its a kid.
thagomizer. Poor old Thag, after whom Caveman name: Big Big Smelly Bang
the spikes are named, may have been a Thing
personal friend of yours. Thagomizer is Unggghh points: 40
a genuine scientific term, as a Google Attacks: bite 2,4
search will amusingly reveal. Eating habits: Carnivorous
A healthy adult stego is 30 feet long, Food value: 9
14 feet high, and weighs five tons.
Caveman name: Big Rock Thing Uintatherium
Unggghh points: 32 Three-ton rhino-like mammal distin-
Attacks: thagomizer 3,6 guished by the fascinating variety of
Eating habits: Herbivorous knobby horns protruding from its heavi-
Food value: 12 ly reinforced skull. These will look really
cool when it s bashing you with them.
Terror Bird Caveman name: Big Bang Thing
This bad-ass bipedal flightless bird Unggghh points: 24
reaches a height of up to 10 feet. Its Attacks: Head bash 3,2
scientific name is Phorusrhacoid, Eating habits: Herbivorous
which it will savagely peck you for Food value: 8
mispronouncing.
Caveman name: Shiny Rock Thing
Unggghh points: 12
Evade: 1
Attacks: peck 3,2, right talon slash 5,1
Eating habits: Carnivorous
Food value: 2

Triceratops
A quadrupedal dinosaur equipped with
a trio of goring horns and a flaring bony
frill to protect its neck from the chomps
of hungry T-Rexes. A good-sized
specimen is 10 feet tall, 30 feet long, and
weighs 6 tons.
Caveman name: Big Thing
Unggghh points: 36
Attacks: all three horns 3,4  counts as
one attack; right forward stomp
5,2, left forward stomp 6,2

34
Velociraptor
This is a stiff-tailed, turkey-
sized
predatory dinosaur feared for
its speed, pack hunting tech-
niques, and the enlarged, slicing
foreclaws on its right hand. It s a
good thing cavemen don t have door-
knobs, because these guys are smart
enough to turn them.
Caveman name: Go Go Thing
Unggghh points: 4
Evade: 2 during first two rounds, 1 during
subsequent rounds
Attacks: bite 2,2, foreclaw 2,4
Eating habits: Carnivorous
Food value: meal

Wolf, Dire
Like standard wolves, but really, really
dire. Six feet long and 200 pounds.
Caveman name: Hairy Thing
Unggghh points: 6
Attacks: bite 3,2
Eating habits: Carnivorous
Food value: 1

35
You Learn Stuff...
Maybe
M
ankind s history is a constant march of Og, it may be that a comparatively
of progress, of lessons learned and drab but workhorse word like or
follies avoided. We learn from his- or yes is infinitely more powerful
tory and never make the same mistake than colorful terms like dinosaur
twi or agriculture.
Oh, who are we kidding? We re
mostly as boneheaded as our caveman
forebears, but with more choices of
Additional Abilities
After giving you your new word, the
breakfast cereal. GM gives you an opportunity to lobby for
Even though we haven t learned that a new ability. Here you describe what you
much as a species, your characters can feel is your highlight sequence from the
still improve themselves in the course of session. It can be the scenes chosen by
play. Slightly, that is. your fellow players prior to the GM s
word selection, but doesn t have to be.
New Words Explain to the GM why you think your
Nearly any successful roleplaying game character might have permanently learned
you care to name rewards its players something from this experience. Specify
with an escalating series of cool powers. the ability you think you may have
Here you get the coolest powers of all. learned. Unlike your fellow players, you
Extra words, which you can use to may find it advantageous to emphasize
communicate with each other, and other one of your character s obvious successes.
cavemen. Assuming that the GM finds your
At the end of each session, the GM pitch halfway credible, you may then roll
asks the other players to confer and a die. Lenient GMs will let you pitch
decide what your most memorable again, rather than simply rejecting your
moment of the evening was. In most proposal and moving on. Learned cave-
cases the players will come quickly to men add 1 to their die rolls.
a consensus. Oddly enough, they ll On a result of 4 or more, you gain the
nearly always set aside your glories desired ability.
and triumphs to focus on your most On a 2 or 3, you do not gain the ability.
spectacularly embarrassing moments. On a 1, you must cross off the ability
With your highlight scene chosen, the on your character sheet. You have not
GM then selects the word that most only failed to learn it, but develop a
clearly relates to it. First she examines mental block rendering you incapable of
the list of 18 starting words. If none of ever figuring it out. You never again get
them seem to apply or you already have a chance to learn that ability.
the words that do, she assigns you any Some groups may find it amusing to
other word in the English language. require the characters to go back to the
When assigning a previously unknown cave and recount their relevant exploits
word, the GM favors the most versatile to their fellow clan members before
and useful word possible. In the context earning additional abilities.

37
their mysterious secrets. Discovered
New Abilities words in Og work like treasure in a tradi-
tional fantasy RPG. The players have to
When your highlight scene doesn t
relate to a pre-existing ability, you can work for them, overcoming obstacles
propose a new ability to gain instead. and performing great deeds. They may
The GM will hone this idea, typically need to find a handsome husband for
making its application much narrower the chieftain s daughter, quell the angry
than the broad abilities that appear in volcano spirits, or drive off a trouble-
this book. The more absurd the new some baluchitherium.
ability, the better. Once the character who knows the
This way, you may learn abilities like new word agrees to teach it to the
Annoy Triceratops, Ice Floe Skating, or Eloquent caveman, the Eloquent cave-
Resist Alien Probe. man must then make a die roll to see if
If you are a Learned caveman, you can he learns it. He succeeds on a result of 4
ask to gain a new ability. If the GM finds or greater.
it sufficiently amusing, and relevant to Although player characters who try to
the session, you gain it without having teach rare words must roll to see if they
to roll. instruct their students well, non-player
cavemen succeed automatically.
Retaining Built After the Eloquent caveman incorpo-
rates a new word into his vocabulary,
Items other player characters can learn it by
Characters who use the Build skill to osmosis, listening to him use it. They
invent something useful can, by forgoing can gain it through the usual highlight
the opportunity to gain an additional or scene method, at the end of any session.
new ability, permanently remember how If your party lacks an Eloquent cave-
to make this item. Other clans will still man, you re out of luckuntil somebody
want to destroy your creations on sight dies, and can be replaced by an Eloquent
see p. 12, but now you know how to caveman. Don t worry. That won t take
build a new one when they do. too long.

More Words About Teaching Rare Words


Words PCs are not the only cavemen
The following advanced rules govern who seek rare words. Knowing a word
the spread of new words in play. outside the core list of 18 is like having
a precious treasure that you can give to
Hunting For Words someone else, without losing anything
Eloquent cavemen can learn additional yourself. You may be able to gain food,
words in the course of play, by encoun- mates, shelter, or allies by teaching them
tering people from other clans and tribes these ultra-valuable words.
who know terms unknown in their own You can only teach rare words to an
cavethat is, words not appearing on Eloquent caveman. Teaching words is
the initial list of 18. hard. If you are an Eloquent caveman,
If they meet other cavemen who know you succeed in teaching the word on
unknown words, they may try to con- a roll of 3 or more. Other cavemen
vince these peculiar outsiders to teach succeed on a 5 or more.

38
The non-player caveman is assumed teach the word again, adding the
to succeed at his roll, and always number of total times you ve taught the
successfully learns the word if you word to the result. If the modified total
successfully teach it. exceeds 9, the word becomes common
knowledge, and no longer valuable.
From Rare To Square If you learned the word from another
Cavemen who know rare words hoard clan, the GM makes a note every time
them carefully, dispensing them only in you teach it, even the first. The GM
exchange for truly needed goods or adds the total number of times you ve
favors. People from other clans will taught the word to a die roll. If the
be reluctant to dole them out for no modified total exceeds 9, the word
reason. Likewise, you should be careful becomes common knowledge, and no
about spreading around a new word longer valuable.
around willy-nilly. Once you teach a new At this point, the word is added to
word to someone, you know that he will the list of common words available to
probably teach it to someone else. He ll all characters. Players creating new
tell two friends, and she ll tell two characters in the same campaign can
friends, and so and before you know it, choose them as they would any other
the word will be everywhereand no basic word.
longer valuable.
The GM keeps track of
every time you teach a rare
word to a caveman from
another clan. He makes a
separate record for each
individual word.
If the word originates in
your clan, you can teach it
to characters from
three other clans before
risking its wide dissemina-
tion. After that, the GM
rolls a die each time you

Assymetrical Design in Prehistoric Gaming


Here the author of the in each case allowing them a GM-co n t r o lled charac-
de Moisi game includes a the die rolls that deter- ter rolls badly. After that,
sidebar to justify the fact mine success or failure. he threatens to belabor
that the rules for teaching He goes on to state that anyone who objects to this
rare words do not simply it would, in what is design choice with the
reverse those for learning a d m i t te d ly a free jawbone of a giant hyena.
them. He argues that the translation of the —LSM
two rules keep the players pictograms, totally suck
at the center of the action, to lose out simply because

39
You Have Adventures If and only if  a discussion appears
Running Og to be going in circles, step in and call

T
he following section is addressed for a Forced Resolution. In a forced
to GMs. Players can read it, but resolution, the cavemen all decide which
honestly, why bother? one of their number to follow, and do
as he or she seems to say.
Coming To a Decision Each player proposing a plan rolls a
You may find that conversations die. Eloquent cavemen add 1 to their
between players go on forever, as they rolls. The player with the highest roll is
struggle to make themselves understood deemed the leader of the moment; the
with their incredibly limited word others fall into line and do as the leader
palette. The line between an amusing seems to instruct. Reroll tied results
opaque Og conversation and a madden- until a single leader emerges.
ingly obtuse one can be paper thin.
Problems most often crop up when
players are trying to propose different
The Clan
All player characters are assumed to
courses of action to deal with a plot belong to a single clan, a group of a few
obstacle. Sometimes they just end up dozen people who live in the same
repeating the same words and gestures location. They are among the clan s
over and over, provoking no comprehen- young expert foragers, and are expected
sion in their fellow players. to bring home food for the entire

41
group. The clan provides motivation clear and vivid descriptions. Here, you
and support for the player characters. do the opposite, thereby helping the
When the clan is hungry, they go out players in their quest to seem confused
and find food for it. When they need a and stupid. Err on the side of vagueness,
new shelter, the PCs go out to seek it. but allow the players out of character
When the clan is endangered, they are to quiz you on details. Provide just
delegated to take care of the threat. enough to give them a mental image of
They kill threatening creatures, and events, but make them work for it.
make war, or negotiate peace with rival Whenever possible, throw in the 18
clans. They may also negotiate with words, just to preserve that distinctive
human-like foes like monkey-men, lizard Oggy flavor.
people, and ancient astronauts. So, where another game might expect
Having a clan confers benefits as well you to say:
as responsibilities. Characters heal best Its a crisp, cold morning. The screeching
in their home shelters. Clan membership sound of birds and monkeys rends the air. You
gives them a comparatively safe place to climb up the sandy slope for a while, until you
run to when being chased by enemies. come to a vine-strewn wall. Its incised with
When running away from enemies, your strange, swirling hieroglyphics, some of which
clan mates will come out to help drive glow as you grow near. Suddenly a strange,
them off, if only you can get close to reptilian creature leaps onto the top of the
home. wall, hissing at you and baring a row of
Although you might create a special needle-sharp teeth.
adventure in which the clan grows Here you say:
discontented with the players, requiring Its cold out. Animal noises very loud
them to prove themselves, in general the around here. You climb up slope thing. You see
cavemen enjoy the support of their own wall of strange square rocks. Weird marks on
people. rocks. Some of them glow. Nasty lizard thing
Think of clan mates as being like jumps on wall, hisses at you.
the unnamed extras you see in the back- You may wish to write more specific
ground on the TV show Lost. You never descriptions for your own reference
provide an exact count of them. When when creating adventures. However, you
you need a new supporting character, need never bother with the evocative
you can introduce him and say he s been text of the first example here.
there all along. Likewise, you can kill
off any number of clan members for
dramatic effect, without having to
Creating
specify that the clan has been
Adventures
Og gives the harried Game Moderator
depopulated beyond recovery.
a break from the rigors of adventure
creation. Here you don t need to strive
for a coherent narrative in which the
Describing Actions characters pursue a goal, develop it
As GM, you are never limited to the through a series of scenes, and then
few words allowed the players. However, resolve that goal in a neatly constructed
you should still describe places, objects, climax. Instead, a bunch of funny stuff
characters and events as vaguely as happens, and, as the end of the evening
possible. Most games ask you to create approaches, the story stops.

42
You might introduce a simple element spider or other threat can wander its
at the beginning of a session and refer way up to the clan s shelter and start
back to it at the end, if you re feeling all trying to snack on the nearest
artsy-fartsy about it. But you ll find that tribesman. The cavemen may be able
any more ambitious goal or storyline is to drive it off temporarily, but then
not only unnecessary but actively must figure out a way to dispatch this
counterproductive. dangerous creature permanently. Many
The extreme stupidity of the dangerous creatures, once killed, can
characters and the game s inherent then be eatenbringing us back to
language barriers will cause any motivation number one.
elaborate scenario to collapse into a As the action begins, all cavemen are
meandering nonsense anyway. Even the assumed to be single and of mating age.
most basic situation complicates itself The need to find mates forces them out
almost on its own, with little advance into the world, to visit other clans and
preparation on your account. The simple find suitable partners. Caveman adven-
appearance of a wasp s nest outside the tures present bountiful opportunities for
characters main cave can spiral into an old-fashioned sexist humor, where going
evening s worth of diverting prehistoric clubbing means finding foxy cavewoman,
slapstick. Anything more than that is conking them on the head, and dragging
trying too hard. them back to your home cave. Some
groups may prefer to inject a note of
Motivating Adventures equal-opportunity sexism, turning the
All adventures start with a simple tables so the females pursue hunky,
triggering event, a situation that well-oiled specimens of prehistoric
inspires the characters to take action. man-meat. For that matter, there are
A triggering event consists of a probably some groups out there who ve
motivation and an obstacle. been anxiously awaiting a game of same-
The motivation is something the sex caveman romance. Hey, don t let us
cavemen want. Cavemen are simple and stand in your way.
want simple things, all related to their Every clan starts play with a shelter all
personal survival, or the survival of its own. A simple disaster is all it takes
their clan. to send the cavemen out looking for a
The top five things that motivate new home for their people. Example
cavemen are: catastrophes include cave-ins, mudslides,
• food floods, famine, or forcible ejection,
• escaping becoming food either by bigger, stronger tribes, or by
• mating large and insistent creatures.
• shelter They say that man s worst enemy is
• thumping on rival cavemen man. This probably technically untrue in
The need for food is simple and self-
explanatory. You can always start an
adventure by telling the players that
their characters need to head out and
get with the hunting and gathering.
Predation is always a problem. A
wandering dinosaur, sabertooth, giant

43
an age of tyrannosaurs and pterodactyls, some difficulty, either with their
but you get the point anyway, right? abilities, by fighting, or negotiation.
Other clans can come after the Word limitations make even the
characters for your food, to kidnap simplest action inherently amusing.
mates, or to capture sacrifices to their However, the best obstacles come out
cruel volcano gods. They may try to of the following phrase: Wouldn t it
drive the characters home clan out of be funny if…
their territory, to make better foraging Create challenges which are both
for themselves, or simply to claim a intimidating and rife with potential
most excellent shelter as their very own. comedy, either slapstick or verbal.
To reverse the point, there s no reason Examples: The cavemen want food.
why the characters clan has to be a The funny thing is… the bananas they
bunch of wussy cavemen waiting for the seek are very high up in a very bendy
nasty clan from over the hill to come tree that s swaying in the wind.
after them. They may choose to become The cavemen want mates from the
the aggressors, actively attacking rival clan across the river. The funny thing
clans. is… they must agree to take the furriest,
This last example works best in an ugliest potential mate in the clan in
ongoing series with proactive players. If order to also take away the attractive
you sense that your group includes a ones.
Pleistocene Napoleon or two, let them The cavemen want to drive off a bron-
create their own motivations and set tosaur that keeps sleeping in front of their
their own goals. Doing so not only cave. The funny thing is… it crashes there
guarantees player engagement over an after eating fermented papayas. The bronto
extended series, but is even less work for has a drinking problem.
you. All you have to do is react to player
actions by putting entertaining obstacles Developing Adventures
in their path. Once you ve got the adventure rolling,
The simplest triggering adventure for you have to maintain its comic momen-
a starting point is as follows: tum, introducing new complications to
You wake up and youre hungry and theres make the characters lives amusingly
no food in the cave. There you have your challenging.
motivation the need for food and an The three best ways to develop
implicit challenge the need to go out adventures are:
into the hostile world and forage.
There s your introductory adventure
right there, people. Thirteen words long.
Make It Up as You Go Along
Why do advance work when you can
And that s with extra conjunctions, for
half-ass your way through it? Your
rhythmic effect. Beat that, GURPS!
players will be so busy struggling
with their tiny vocabularies to notice.
Creating Challenges Anytime the cavemen attempt to
The second part of the triggering overcome a challenge, a new scene tends
event is the obstaclethe reason why to naturally suggest itself. If the cave-
it s hard for the cavemen to achieve men fail, they must regroup, and find a
what they want. This is a logistical new way to tackle the problem at hand.
problem that can be overcome with Allow them to pursue their own solution

44
or, if this fails, have an event take place scenes they need. Each index card
that suggests a way out. In either case, consists of a very broad goal and an
put a new amusing obstacle in between scary and/or potentially amusing
them and their new goal. This leads to obstacle. Don t worry about making
an adventure structure in which one them all funny; that will happen in play.
obstacle is nested within another, which Include additional details if you prefer,
in turn has another obstacle inside it. but avoid making them too specific, as
As the session comes to a close, the you ll have to adjust the scenes to fit
cavemen start to unravel the chain of into a developing adventure.
obstacles, finally finding the solution to Example index cards might read as
their original problem. Armed with this follows:
solution, they get a chance to win. If the • A rival clan s wisest grunting cave-
rolls go in their favor, they do. If man has been treed by an enraged
not…well, prehistory is a dangerous time. baluchitherium.
Likewise, whenever the cavemen • Monkey-men have set up pit trap to
succeed, their success leads to a new capture unwary cavemen. Spikes on
problem, with a suitably amusing bottom of trap. Roll Forage to spot
obstacle in their path. Just keep looking trap. If you fall in, roll Jump to avoid
at what the players are trying to accom- spikes, or take 1 damage. After cave-
plish at the moment, ask yourself what men fall in, monkey men appear,
might logically stand in their way, and lobbing coconuts. They want to eat
then find a coming twist by asking cavemen, or at least to scare them
yourself, Wouldn t it be funny if…? away from their territory.
• Crazy lone wandering caveman wants
Use Index Cards to join a clan. Tries to convince
GMs uncomfortable with straight-up dumbest-looking PC he is his long-
improvisation can prepare a set of lost father.
unconnected challenges, which they • Tasty giant parrot eggs on top of
then weave together as they go along. high cliff. Only access is by rock-
Write the challenges down on index slide-prone slope. At inopportune
cards. Laptop users may prefer to place moment, parrots return, angry.
them in a document file, using a header • In exchange for food, caveman from
or bookmark system to easily locate the Red Bird clan reveals location of

The Oft-Mentioned Baluchitherium


Apart from such land mammal found in tions with it, equating its
obvious candidates as the fossil record. Why meaty frame with wealth
the sabertooth tiger it appears so often in and success. My personal
and tyrannosaurus, the examples and off-hand theory is that the
creature type most often references is a matter of unknown author believed
mentioned in the de Moisi scholarly controversy. baluchitheriums to be
cave text is the baluchith- Some suggest that players inherently funny.
erium. This fifte e n - to n of the first roleplaying —LSM
herbivore is the largest game had positive associa-

45
ironwood tree. He says tree, when if the cavemen kill a plesiosaur who lives
chopped down, makes very strong in a lake, the next week a camp of mon-
wall to protect mouth of your cave key men might have set up camp there,
from predators and invaders. Does now that it s a safe place to live.
not explain that, for this reason, tree
is extremely hard to chop down.
• Lizard men lead a group of enslaved
Random Adventure
cavemen on leashes. If PCs rescue
Charts
Stuck for inspiration because your
them, cavemen bitterly protest. As
cavemen have solved the problem of the
lizard man slaves, they had food and
evening in five minutes flat? Use the
shelter without having to forage for it.
following charts to jumpstart your
imagination and construct a quick
Use a Map situation for the characters to resolve.
Since Og sessions are more about the The situation consists of:
amusing event of the moment than a
coherent plot, you may prefer to jettison a benefit: something the cavemen get if
the effort to connect scenes together at they prevail thus luring them into
all. Instead, you can write up similar danger
point-form encounters, as in the index a location: an interesting setting for the
card method above, but place them on a encounter
map. an opponent: someone or something
Start by drawing a map of the that stands in their way
characters immediate area, with their
clan shelter in the middle. Create a set a complication: an additional element
of unchanging terrain features. Cram as making the encounter weirder,
many interesting environments into your tougher, or funnier
map as you can. Needless to say, geo-
graphic credibility is not a top priority. Benefit Chart
Don t worry about scale or direction; 1 ....................................................food
cavemen have no concept of the latter 2 ......................................good shelter
and no way of measuring the former. 3 ....invention in need of destruction
Once you ve got your basic map, make 4 . . . . . . . .m a te - wooing opport u n i t y
copies of it, so that you have a fresh one 5 ....................rival to chase or harass
for each session. 6 ........................................shiny thing
Before each session, mark on the map
where each of your encounters will Location Chart
occur. The adventure consists of the 1......................................................cliff
players deciding where to go. When 2 ..................................................jungle
they enter an area marked on your map, 3 ....................................mountainside
the encounter takes place. Astute read- 4 ..............................................salt flat
ers will recognize this as Og equivalent 5 ............................................shoreline
of old school dungeon bashing. 6..........................underground tunnel
For later sessions, remove used
encounters and add new ones to the
map. Certain terrain features may
inspire various encounters. For example,

46
Opponent Chart Sample Adventures
This chart gives you categories of To illustrate the lack of advance
opponent. Choose the specific creature preparation required for a fun Og
or rival as the need strikes you. You may game, here are three complete sample
want to pick one you haven t used adventures.
before, recycle a frequent, much-loathed
enemy, or if they ve been doing nothing
but Running Away lately select one the The Sun Food Bang Thing
cavemen have a chance of successfully The cavemen find a bee s nest full of
defeating. tasty honey outside their cave. They
1 ..............................dinosaur, carnivorous probably get stung trying to get it.
2 ..............................dinosaur, herbivorous Following the bees, they run into a cave
3 ............................intelligent non-human bear, also harvesting honey. He s on an
4 ........other crocodile, giant spider, etc. island with lots of trees. The trees have
5 ................................prehistoric mammal very springy trunks. Hilarity ensues.
6 ..........................................rival cavemen
Me Smelly, You Hairy
Complication Chart The cavemen s mothers tell them that
1 ........another opponent waiting in it s time to get married. They go to a
wings to finish off weakened rival clan, which will allow the men to
victor marry their curvaceous cavewoman,
2 ........benefit is endangered or in provided that they also take the clan
precarious position spinster, who looks suspiciously like
3 ........extreme weather a gigantopithecus. Hilarity ensues.
4 ........hazardous terrain quicksand,
crumbling cliff face, burning The Big Bang Thing
vegetation While foraging, the group encounters
5 ........interfering animals trouble- a friendly brachiosaur. As much as it
some monkeys, divebombing likes them, it is jealous of everyone else
birds, etc. they come near, who it then tries to
6 ........trap or traps constructed by stomp. If insufficient hilarity ensues,
cavemen or sentient beings members of a rival clan show up to sue
for damage caused by the brachiosaur s
crushing of their huts.

47
Character
Og Sheet
Player:__________________________
Character: ______________________
Character Class: ________________

Unggghh Dodge/
Attack Points Damage Evade

Words:
Circle your words

You Me Rock Water Fire


Stick Hairy Bang Sleep Smelly
Small Big Cave Food Thing
Shiny Go Verisimilitude

Abilities:
Circle 3 6 for Learned Cavemen

Build Fire Intimidate Run Away

Climb Fish Jump Swim

Cook Forage Lift Throw

Draw Hide Resistance Tiptoe

Explore Hunt Romance Weather


—Author: Robin D. Laws
Artists: Bill Holbrook, Ramsey Hong
Cover Design: Dan Zillion


You are a caveman.

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