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Topics - Petike

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I know what some URW veterans might think: "You should hunt or trap animals on a more regular basis, and then it will be easier to trade for more expensive items. Especially if you also tan skins and hides into useful fur or leather items."

Of course, I know this, and I use this approach as well. However, none of my characters to date were huge hunters or trappers, even with all the traps I've prepared and the animals I've hunted and caught. It also needs to be said that many of my characters have the bad luck of rarely getting adequate hunting weapons at the start, aside from tools like hunting knives. It might sound embarassing, but most of my successful ranged hunting to date involved throwing rocks and javelins. I almost never have enough rope or tying material to make myself a bow, nevermind even home-made arrows. Often, rope or any tying material is hard to come by in trade, and if I need any cord, I'm not going to destroy the few good clothes my character owns, for little return. For example, my current character only has a shirt, trousers, and footwear. I only recently made him a decent fur cap from the smaller animals I caught, and stored it at the cellar of his homestead, since winter is still far away.

Therefore, since I still need most of the leather-related resources for my character (at least earlier into the game, while I am still building up my supplies of warm clothes for the winter, and so on), I usually can't spare leather to make rope or cord, and I also can't sell my leather and fur products for profit. This is where my character's (and characters') woodworking skills come in handy.

Unfortunately, even if I craft entire piles of decent to excellent quality wooden bowls and put them aside (I tend to use the rougher quality ones for myself and burn the bad ones that I made while my skills were lower), I know it takes quite a while until I have enough of them to buy anything from locals. Having an extra amount of freshly caught and prepared fish helps as well. But some items, such as better hunting weapons, or just plentiful enough supply of tying materials, always seem completely off-limits to me. The character I'm currently playing found a very nice crossbow at the village he lives next to (even sharing the field with the locals, since he's partly a farmer) and I'd like to "save up" to eventually buy it for his needs. Aside from me being fond of crossbows in real life, they have decent stats as ranged hunting weapon, even if they are expensive and rare. Since I doubt I'll find another crossbow in an eastern culture village anytime soon, I'm hatching this scheme of manufacturing as many goods as I can (relatively on the cheap, but with good quality) and then trying to barter with locals until they accept my payment.

Is this a bit of a silly approach, or is it a good enough way to buy some basic tools and weapons in the early days, before the player character is comfortably supplied for all of the year's seasons ?

I know boards, stakes, paw-boards, bowls and fish only garner a certain amount of interest. Every villager seems to be more interested in taking all of my meagre but invaluable tools and clothes in "fair exchange" for the cheapest of items they offer. But is it possible to use large quantities of simple goods to barter adequately for pricier items ?


Just a minor suggestion: Could the individual cultures have simple, stylised emblems that player characters could use to tell them apart quickly ?

I think the fact that the game portrays the cultures in a more anonymous way at the moment, largely through their lifestyles and the tools they use, is actually better for immersion purposes.

Furthermore, given that this is a late Iron Age civilization, with more scattered populations, no real towns, no cities whatsoever, no stone structures and institutions yet, no nobility or peasants/serfs, etc., that it is good the individual cultures do not have any flags or coats of arms or more standardized symbols. Again, it's better for verisimilitude and immersion.

All the above said, I still think it could be beneficial for gameplay purposes if a few menus occassionally featured a simple, stylized emblem that would represent one of the 9 (10 ?) cultures. For example, the northern tribes would have a silhouette/outline of their totemic animal, from which they derive their monikers. The other cultures could have simple emblems that would reflect their typical economic and cultural strengths, and so on. Due to the more primordial feel of the setting, I think the background texture of these emblems could imply they are painted onto or burnt onto a decorative piece of leather, or painted on a smooth enough piece of bark (specifically, the inner side of the bark).

Why would emblems be needed ? Because, as much as I like that more anonymous approach, sometimes I wish I could just look at a conversation screen and see that the other character has more than just a boring text description there, saying they are from this or that culture. Ergo, I would find it nice if they also had a little emblem representing what culture they are from, situated in some empty part of the conversation screen.

I think a game mechanic that should stay in place is that an unknown individual or unknown village would not have its corresponding culture's emblem shown to the player until he or she met with them, they introduced each other, and gained at least some basic familiarity. Then it would appear somewhere in the corner when talking with an individual. It would also not appear in the player character menu, other than the player overview screen, showing the stats. The fact that the characters already have "surnames" based on which culture their character belongs to is more than enough during usual gameplay.

Finally, I feel that different simple emblems could give the cultures further distinct personalities, beyond what in-game behaviour patterns they use while creating their settlements, or hunting or trading, etc.

Just a thought. :)

I've read quite a few articles about whistling arrows already years back, when I was reading about historical archery, including the various forms of hunting archery in different cultures around the world. Having recently watched Sami's video from his separate archery channel - on making and testing a Siberian-style whistling arrow - the idea immediately struck me. This could be a potential addon, official or by the modders, for the game. Specialised for waterfowl hunting. Not useful as an actual hunting projectile, but shot as an initial decoy to scare the birds into landing, thus becoming easier targets for conventional arrows.

* * *

On the off-chance someone tries to develop whistling arrows as a mod/addon idea:

I think they wouldn't be too sophisticated to necessitate being a barter item. Unlike broadheads, they don't need a metal arrowhead, so the player should be able to craft them, much like the standard arrows (with lithic arrowheads) or the blunt arrows. In fact, I see the hypothetical in-game whistling arrows as something of a cousin to the blunt arrows - fulfilling a more specialised role in ranged hunting. Blunts don't damage the outside of small prey and birds that much, or just knock them unconscious, while whistling arrows are an indirect tactical utensil.

I could imagine the hollow wooden arrowhead with the openings being manufactured from a block of wood (given the size, maybe a single block could yield material for even 2 or 3 whistling arrowheads). Crafting-wise, the player would have to:
1.) carve out or split the raw version of the arrowhead from a block of wood
2.) split the arrowhead (or several, depending on the yield) with a knife or handaxe
3.) hollow out the halves of the arrowhead(s) with the use of a carving knife while next to a burning fire (either a campfire or a fire in the stove)
4.) put the pieces together with tying material or whatever is already used for gluing purposes

The remaining part of the whistling arrow (shaft, fletching, arrowhead attachment, etc.) would be crafted in the same manner as the standard (lithic) arrows, and the blunt arrows.

While hunting, the whistling arrow's flight over a particular area could generate some sort of trigger in that location, causing any bird in a particular radius to stop flying and land on the ground or a water surface. This would be especially effective with waterfowl, marginally or occassionally effective with the various grouse species, and completely ineffective with predatory birds.

I suppose some secondary uses (besides the primary one, waterfowl hunting) could include:
- startling a land animal (e.g. scaring away a predator without fighting it)
- startling a human adversary NPC at a distance (possibly as a temporary distraction)
- a signal for any human companion NPCs (rallying signal, warning signal, attack signal, etc.)

* * *

Concerning a historical realism perspective, I honestly don't know if there is any surviving material evidence of whistling arrows from Scandinavia from the pre-gunpowder era. I know a general problem in Finnish archaeology is that a lot of the soils in Finland are not too conductive to artefact preservation. Wood is an obvious material that can easily rot away and decompose over the course of several years, decades and particularly centuries. So it wouldn't be any wonder if no traditional Finnish hunting arrows from antiquity or the early Middle Ages survive today. Whistling arrows included.

It might be a stretch introducing them into the game, but you have the excuse of their usage among the wider group of Finno-Ugric language nationalities. Then there's the fact the game has the rare hand-and-a-half swords as a minor permitted anachronism. Personally, I think whistling arrows wouldn't be too weird in the existing setting.  ;)

General Discussion / A Christmas present to the community by me
« on: December 20, 2018, 07:50:56 PM »
Sorry if the title sounds a little grandiose. ;D

Since late November, I've been updating the official wiki, on and off.

Mostly just adding categories and structure to the whole thing (though a lot of it was good to begin with, so I had my work cut out for me, in a sense), occassionally uploading some new images for the still missing ones in articles (there are still many), expanding several articles with more detailed information and improved formatting (sections with headings, instead of unbroken paragraphs), and occassionally creating a few new articles (I did one on NPC conversations, a few short ones on terrain types (this I still want to extend), and one article on the types of "pets" the player receives at the start when they select the last starting scenario). Images are now neatly sorted into their own subcategories within an image category, so you'll be able to make sense of the images uploaded to the wiki much, much more easily than before. There's a Healing and medicine subcategory in the equally new Gameplay category, and so on and so forth.

Hope you like the category work in particular. I tried to be as rigorous and logical as possible while expanding upon the already existing categories and adding new ones. Hopefully you'll find the additions useful and quick to work with (making it easier to find inter-related stuff quickly on the wiki). I'm still working on improving some articles or finishing a few of the newer ones, but much of the planned work is done by this point.

Feedback is very welcome !

And if anyone wants to help the visual side of the wiki by providing screenshots of still missing content from the latest release of the game, that would be very welcome. For certain objects and concepts, we still only have images from pre-3.30 versions, and even though those have their historical value, we also need more up-to-date images (3.52 and higher).

As Christmas is nearly here, I'd like to wish everyone a peaceful, healthy and relaxing holiday season. :)

Gameplay questions / Best way to preserve berries long-term ?
« on: December 06, 2018, 05:14:23 PM »
What's the best method of preserving berries for a long time, e.g. the autumn and winter until spring, other than just chucking them inside a cellar ? Can berries start to spoil or rot in a cellar ?

Thank you kindly for any and all advice.

Suggestions / Craftable punts ? And what should the limitations be ?
« on: November 30, 2018, 10:23:20 PM »
I've noticed that punts are only acquirable by quests or by buying them for adequate barter material in a village. This wouldn't be bad in terms of game balance, but from a realism perspective, it has me scratching my head a bit...

Unless I'm mistakened (and feel free to correct me), the punts in URW are basically dugout boats (monoxylons). They're a single tree trunk carved into the shape of a small, usable boat, and often propelled by a sesta (punt pole), or a paddle. At least that's the impression I've had from some of the photographic illustrations provided for these simple vehicles.

If they're made from a single tree trunk and are dugouts, wouldn't it make some degree of sense that the player could manufacture one ? At least a smaller, one-man version, perhaps ?

Not without limitations, of course. I think a natural potential limitation could be the type of axes (e.g. a carving axe) and other tools (e.g. knives) at the player's disposal. Unless the player acquires a small array of very specific tools, he/she can't hollow out the tree trunk on a whim, as if it was no hard work and no effort at all.

I just find it strange that you have to go to a lot of trouble finding material for a raft - three separate tree trunks, then tying equipment you have to manufacture over a long time - when it's a simple vehicle only at first glance, but requires a lot more material investment. The punt looks far simpler in comparison. Granted, I think that if craftable punts were to be included, another limitation for them would be the length of time needed for manufacturing.

For rafts, you'd need to gather a lot of materials, but the assembly time would be short, while for punts, you'd only need a tree trunk as material, but it might take a good long while until you hollow it out into a suitable punt shape. At least as long as it takes to build three or four segments of a log cabin ("Wooden Building") wall in the game, with an average character. This would help prevent the crafting of punts to become easily abusable, and instead make it into something more of a long-term goal.

Additionally, maybe another way to make punt crafting a bit harder is the need to gather information on the process first from particular villages. You go to a village, meet the local who sells fishing and watercraft related goods, and you have to be on good terms with him/her and sell them something before they decide to tell you how to properly build a punt. Only then, and with the right tools for the job, could you start hollowing out a tree trunk. In essence, you could still craft a punt, but it would require some effort to become skillful at this sort of task, and this would in turn guarantee that people wouldn't avoid crafting rafts. Rafts would still be useful and necessary until the player learns how to build his or her own punt.

Just some thoughts on the subject. I'd love to hear others' opinions on this, the pros and cons. :)

I know there are already some good mods out there or in development that add more craftable watercraft, especially of the simple variety, but I was wondering whether punts could be given a similar treatment. One that wouldn't make the game much easier, but would still give the player slightly more options when trying to fish or travel across water.

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