[Runequest] Literate Neolithics?

Pete Nash the.iqari at gmail.com
Thu Aug 30 18:08:01 EST 2012

Hi Lev,

Remember than careers are designed to be inherently flexible, so that you
as the GM or player can select a skill list to create precisely what a
scholar is in your culture/setting. In addition, as Loz has already
intimated, Literacy could incorporate anything from message sticks to knot
records in string, or arrangement of sea shells on a beach to deciphering
tattoo marks on skin.

Neither do careers have to be slavishly followed for an individual's entire
lifetime. A primitive might take the role of lorekeeper or teacher once
they become too old to actively hunt and fight. In fact what is a career
anyway? Something a person does to the exclusion of all else, or is it
merely the premier of several roles they need to survive?

Yes, I know this, I have read it. It is an optional professional skill. I
> was going to leave issues of the paleolithic* division of labour aside,
> but since you've brought it up, how about some evidence for the claim that
> there were professional "scholars" among hunter-gatherers?

Umm, well to be blunt about it, who cares?  RuneQuest isn't supposed to be
a perfect model of 19th or even 21st C social development theories. The
rules are there as guidelines to help people create anything their
imagination can come up with. If you as a GM want a primitive tribe of
lizardfolk who support a tribal knowledge keeper, then you have the option
to handle it. If, on the other hand, you'd like to design a
post-apocolyptic setting where there is a librarian class amongst the
savage, cannibalistic primitive survivors of New York, then go for it.

Just because RQ handles historical settings well, it does not mean the
latest version is specifically designed around them. That's the path to
madness since there are always going to be (somewhere in the world and
history itself) exceptions to the rule.

I may also raise the matter of Primitive Sailors as well... There is
> *some* evidence of boat use in this time (e.g.,
> http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/index.php/news/newsDetails/plakias-survey-finds-stone-age-tools-on-crete/
> ),
> but I haven't discerned evidence of a "Sailor" profession.

Well, that combined with the settlement of Australia seem pretty conclusive
evidence to me. We also have definitive boat finds back well into the
Mesolithic. If you'd like other suggestions of possible primitive sailors,
how about ancient Lapita messengers perhaps, or Uru
cross-lake transporters, or neolithic Persian Gulf coastal traders. Nobody
knows for sure what society was like and what inter- or intra-tribal
services they provided back before we have written records.

To return to the key point however, the RQ6 rules are intended for fantasy
too. Don't view careers as a basis for anthropological study, they are
nothing more than a simplification for playing a game! ;)
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