While waiting for your turn results to come back, spend some time reading about Elements and also about what you can make. This will help you decide which skill attempts to make next turn and how you can develop that map of yours.
Skills basically fall into 4 categories:
- Administrative (how you organize the Tribe)
- Manufacturing (what you can make)
- Raw materials (how you get the stuff to make things with)
- Primary produce (how to live off the land)
Scouting falls mostly outside these categories, but it could be argued that it is an administrative skill because it provides the map you will need to move the Tribe around.
In these early days of your life in TN, most of the skills available to you are well beyond your capacity, but there is a full list in The Mandate Have a look at that for an overview, but don’t linger, by all means dream of a future when you can do such things as Farming and Shipbuilding, but they are some way off at this stage. What is important to you right now is the low hanging fruit; the things that will get you through the next few months.
Scouting is always important. You really need to know what is around you. However, there is no pressing need for you to do Scouting as a skill. More important may be the need to get as many skills as possible. You can do this by raising your Diplomacy skill. This will give you the option of splitting the Tribe, and thus it gives you more scouts and more skill attempts.
These are things like skins, gut, bone, but can also be ores of iron, copper, zinc. There are many hexes where your scouts will find ores as they ride around the countryside, but they are fairly useless to you until you learn how to refine them, and that’s a little way off yet. So Skinning, Gutting and Boning are the easiest ways to get raw materials. The skins can be made into leather and bones and cut are useful for other things. They are your best bets for raw materials.
Mostly the materials you will have to work with will be leather and wood. You may even have some some iron or bronze and coal. Consider what you can make with these things. Given that most of your Activities will be dominated by Hunting, it’s time to consider how much your Tribe can carry. Provisions are heavy; each is 10 lbs in weight. With thousands hunting each month you’ll quickly have a lot of baggage to carry around. So wagons are going to be essential if you want to keep moving. If you want to make your hunters more effective, think in terms of bone spears (which can double as crude weapons later on), and slings are easy to make as well.
The essential message here is: look for the low hanging fruit. What useful things can you make in the quickest time.
At this stage of your development this is simply Hunting and Herding. You can get by with low Hunting skills because of the sheer weight of numbers doing the hunting just now and your animals will increase despite a low level in Herding, but they are useful skills to have.
Nobody can give you the definitive strategy; that’s something that is a self-deterministic thing. What you can learn from those with experience is a world view that sees things from a broader perspective. Some have found settling down early and concentrating on a few skills works for them. Some like to split the tribe into as many sub-tribes as possible. Some like to explore. There is no best way; there is only the way you choose.
One thing that is very important: communication.
You can communicate, either directly or through the game with other Tribes. Such communications may provide you with useful maps/information (but remember that not all players are trustworthy). It also helps you to feel part of the game and adds to the entertainment and color of TN. Don’t be afraid to approach somebody. Most players will respond and some might respond a lot. If you try and get through TN on your own, be prepared to experience a lot of frustration, yet being part of an alliance will give you access to other people’s experience and knowledge. It is best to take advantage of it.
The GM very kindly offers you a free Element. All you have to do is ask for it.
An Element is an offshoot of the Tribe, a unit that still belongs to the Tribe it came from and carries with it all the skills of the Tribe. However, it is not bound to the Tribe the way scouts are. However,
- do NOT have their own list of skills, they, automatically possesses all of the skills of its mother Tribe
- do NOT research new skills
- Scouting performed by an Element is included in the “maximum of 8 Scouts per Tribe” limit for its mother Tribe
- must be smaller than the Tribe that spawned them (that is, after creation the Element may not be bigger than the numbers remaining in the Tribe that spawned it).
- do NOT need to conform to the equal ration of Warriors/Actives/Inactives.
So what you have is a group of people who can wander far and wide and expand your map and scout a long way from home.
What should it look like?
There is no consensus about the best make up of an element, except that it should be fully mounted. A mounted Element has 27 MPs.
Some general ideas about Elements
- Estimates about size range from 16-35.
- There is no need to have Inactives in the Element.
- They should have some hunting equipment
- They don’t need armor or weapons – though some dispute this
- Give them enough provisions for 6 months
- Give them a few extra horses
- Send them in the opposite direction to the Tribe – though some say circle the Tribe
Whatever you want them to do and however you decide to equip them, Elements are great resource and an essential way of broadening the Tribe’s horizons.
Your results come in. How to read the results sheet, and your second set of Orders.