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(TFT) tribes and totems (and clubs/ST)
Another cool book I read 5 or so years ago was Sigmund Freud's 'Totem and
Taboo'. The book was about comparing animism/religion/atheism or rationality
with psychosis/neurosis/'normality' and is guaranteed to annoy any christian
no end but there was a good bit about animism and mythology which I thought
was applicable to roleplaying.
I'm pretty rusty on this (and have lost my copy of the book)
In religion a person believes in a mostly rational world but where their
thoughts can have siginificance/effects and they can have a line to a deity
either through prayer or through a priest and sometimes effect mystical
In animism, the person's world is essentially sentient and magical -
animals, plants, rocks and places may all have mystical powers, emotions and
personalities. Sometimes a particular animal will be linked to a tribe and
will become a totem and hold special significance for the tribe. People
believe their thoughts freely and directly interact with the world about
The latter could make for interesting roleplaying of neanderthals and, say,
ogres, who could be considered to be stone-age in development i guess.
These tribes could behave in bizarre and unpredictable ways - A tribe of
neanderthals making frieds with a bunch of dwarves but going berserk when
they see gold because their sacred rock has a gold seam in it and they deem
the dwarves thieves.
maybe ventriloquist players could have a real field day tricking
Now, one idea of deities is that their power is a direct manifestation of
the number and nature of their worshippers - this might mak for some
interesting ideas if the believers are a large number of neanderthals who
believe everything is sentient.....
Maybe a tribe of neanderthals (which don't have shamen as such) have, say, a
sacred mammoth totem.
In thier cave is a pile of mammoth bones and tusks, or alternatively a large
totem pole with elephant motif, which imbues a +2 ST and armour bonus to all
believers within 7 hexes. A chieftain may have a mammoth skull mask which
gives him the same bonus and +1 ST and armour to all beleivers within 3
This brings me to another point which I don't remember us discussing - say
one has a club for the appropriate ST and one gains an ST point; does one
have to discard the said club and get one slightly larger and heavier - how
much latitude do GMs give; 3ST 5ST or what?
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