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Topics - Bert Preast

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Stories / Ow, the Last Neanderthal
« on: July 27, 2022, 05:48:20 PM »
Ow, the Last Neanderthal

(A tribute to and inspired by the excellent film, "Ao, le dernier Neandertal", also known as "Ao, the Last Hunter")

It is commonly supposed that the last of the Neanderthals disappeared some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.  However, recent research only now coming to light shows (ahem... probably) that the last of the Neanderthals was with us just a mere millenia ago, in the vast and untracked forests and marshes of the far north of what we now know as Finland.  This is the story of Ow, the last Neanderthal...


Ow had been born to a small clan many weeks travel to the south, and as a boy had been traded to another clan.  This was normal and accepted, as small clans usually had to redress the male-female balance to remain viable.  Ow was very angry and depressed to be leaving his twin brother Wo, but he had no choice in the matter.  The chiefs had decided. 

Ow's new clan was similar in size to his old one, and he made the best he could of his situation.  He continued learning to hunt, to tan hides and to make and maintain tools.  He was still young when the first contact with the Longfaces came, tall and wiry men who did not seem interested in trading.  Ow's clan had nothing they wanted nor lacked for.  Soon came conflict, and in a dispute between two hunting parties a man of Ow's clan was badly wounded.  The clan chief decided that they must leave their cave, and head north, away from the Longfaces.

This became the pattern for Ow's clan over the next few years, they would find a cave and settle but soon the Longfaces were spotted and the clan moved north again and again.  Ow grew big and strong during this time, and was acknowledged as the clan's best hunter.  The chief was getting too old for hunting now, so the provision of meat was left to Ow and the two other adult males of the clan, Boorh and Unk.  The clan had moved so far north that they had reached the sea, so the hunting grounds they had now were all they were likely to have ever.

The clan sheltered in their cave over the worst of the winter, but as soon as the first signs of spring were seen Ow, Boorh and Unk trekked out through the deep snow looking for some much missed meat to eat.  With a snowstorm whirling about them, they crossed paths with a bear, but a far bigger bear than any had seen before.  It was white all over, with demonic red eyes as it came for them.  The three men fought, Unk going down almost straight away as he closed with the monster, a swipe of its paw taking most of his throat out. 

Ow and Boorh checked, appalled, but they could not let this abomination live so close to their clan.  They attacked at the same time from either side, the monster spinning and roaring its pain as their spears struck home.  The wind scoured the snow, blinding them as they fought.  Ow felt the semll of the bear close, too close, then he was falling back as it bore him down with its weight.  His spear rolled away and he drew his flint knife from his belt, stabbing in a frenzy of bloodlust as the weight of the monster crushed him.  There was a heavy blow to his head, then the world was spinning and darkening.

He awoke perhaps an hour or perhaps a day later, still trapped under the weight of the bear.  It was dead, and its stink made it almost impossible to breathe.  Ow called out for Boorh, but no answer came.  He struggled, slowly managing to work himself out from under the monster.  He stood shakily, his head aching and his body bruised black and blue, but everything seemed to be working.  A few steps away he found the body of Boorh, his furs torn to rags from the bear's claws and his face cold and lifeless.  Whether he had died of his wounds or the cold, Ow could not tell.  He stumbled home to the cave in misery, knowing he was now the only fit hunter of the clan.

Getting close to home, he was immediately alerted by the lack of smoke in the air.  He threw off his heavier furs and ran, entering the cave to see the carnage.  The clan were all dead; the chief, Ow's woman and his baby son.  All of them.  Ow bayed and howled his grief, everything in his life destroyed, laying here bloody before his eyes.  He heard something moving behind him and turned; two Longfaces were in the cave with him, spears readied to finish him.  His grief became rage, his hands around the point of a Longface spear.  He pulled hard, drawing the Longface close, then stuck the nut right on him.  "Fackin' 'ave that you 'orse-faced cahnt!", he exclaimed in the rather profane language of the earlier and uncultured hominids.  The man dropped instantly, insensible with his nose smashed. Ow could see that the other Longface was frightened now, backing away while circling his spear-point warily.  Ow kept closing, then scooping a handful of ash from the hearth he threw it into the face of his opponent, charging in at the same time.

The Longface was blinded by the ash and fell backwards, his spear clattering to the floor of the cave.  Ow grabbed a large stone from the hearth and was astride his enemy, ready to dash his brains out.  The Longface looked up at him beseechingly, and Ow found that he could not do it.  To kill a living creature when he had no use for its meat or skin was just... inconceivable to him.  He knew what the Longface had done, but still he could not kill him.  With a roar of frustration, he rolled away.  The Longface, wide-eyed with terror, grabbed his inert companion and dragged him frantically from the cave.   

Ow lay exhausted in the cave for hours, tortured and drained by his exertions and emotions.  He did not care if the Longfaces returned to kill him, he did not care about anything anymore.  Eventually his rational side regained some control, and he carried the bodies of his clan and laid them gently over the hearth, piling them with wood as he went.  He set the fire, then squatted wailing as every one of his family and friends burned.  The smoke drove him from the cave and he walked, crying and raging and ranting as he went, for many miles.

Ow was now alone, the last Neanderthal.

Suggestions / Merge the axe and club skills
« on: May 31, 2022, 01:15:56 AM »
Club skill covers skill with maces, and is there really a difference in fighting style between a mace and axe?  Only that with the axe you want to hit your enemy with the sharp bit - but if you can't stop your weapon spinning in your grip when using it then frankly you should probably not be fighting anything.

I would propose that the combat skills axe and club be merged.

This would free up a slot for a skill I feel is lacking, a "Fighting" combat skill.  This should start at zero and tick up every time something hits or tries to hit the character.  The skill would have no effect in isolation, but every 4 or 5 points in it should add a point to all the other weapon skills, perhaps excluding bow and crossbow. 

The skill would simulate experience gained while being in an actual fight.  After all, if an expert swordsman and veteran of many battles has to make do with an axe for whatever reason, he is still going to be a much more fearsome foe than someone similar who has never been in a scrap before.

Bug reports / [3.71] Elk Fat Disappeared
« on: May 29, 2022, 12:07:04 AM »
Running 3.71 unmodded on Windows 10 via Steam.

I just started a new Finn and on my 3rd day got an elk.  I butchered it and saw the elk fat in my inventory.  I then went to break some nearby ice, and from looking over the message log, that's when the fat disappeared.  I can see it in the list of items I dropped -  but then when I picked them up I cannot see the fat because there were too many items, but where it says "+ 7 items" I see that is 1 fewer than I had dropped.  My fat was gone! 

I noticed a day later when I went to tan the skin, so recent save game available.

EDIT:  Any suggestions as to how to mod in a kilo of elk fat would be very gratefully received!

Off-topic / LARPing the Unreal World
« on: May 11, 2022, 11:32:32 PM »
I expect many of you have already heard of this guy (Erik Grankvist), but for those that haven't:

Young Swede decides that the world has become Unreal.  Does the obvious, and heads off into the woods to build a cabin.

Gameplay questions / Raising Textilecraft Skill
« on: November 02, 2021, 12:20:40 AM »
Has anybody managed to skill up in textilecraft yet?

I started with 14%, and a year and a hundred poor cloth cords later I am still at 14%  ;D

It's irritating because when I try to make clothing the poor cords always drag the quality down and the best I can get is "rough".  I thought textilecraft would concern making yarn, and why bother when I can buy yarn so cheaply in the villages?  But it turns out that all my yarns become poor cords, because my skill is rubbish.  This is a problem because finding actual cords is like looking for rocking-horse poo. 

From my observations, making cords doesn't seem to gain textilecraft skill (I have 3 stars in the skill gain column), so does anyone know what does?  Should I carve a hundred spindles, or look to harvest the world's supply of nettles for retting and yarn?

EDIT - making cloth cords does raise textilecraft!  Just made another 4, all of the poor quality but got the skill up  8)

Stories / Wulfbert the unfortunate sailor
« on: October 28, 2021, 01:04:41 AM »

Wulfbert - Bright Wolf - is a sailor from a foreign shore far to the west.  His ship was on the amber run, bringing metals to the Baltic to trade for amber, but their captain haggled too hard and so waited too long.  Thus the journey home started weeks later than planned, and they hit the first of the winter storms.  The storm came up from the south and they ran before it, but were driven onto uncharted islands to leeward.  Wulfbert was on his first voyage; and as the ship grounded and groaned on the rocks he panicked, throwing himself over the side despite not being a strong swimmer.  The waves carried him swiftly to shore and smashed him against the rocky coastline; breaking bones and bruising him badly, leaving him clinging to the top of a large rock where a particularly powerful wave had lifted him, whimpering with pain and cold.

He watched as his shipmates managed to abandon ship in a rather more orderly fashion, making a human chain to the least rocky part of the shoreline and collapsing there exhausted.  Wulfbert saw that they had managed to salvage some supplies and a glimmer of hope arose inside him as he began to think he may survive this.  His feelings were answered by a roar of pure hatred from the treeline above where his shipmates had landed, then a torrent of arrows falling upon them.  The crew struggled to escape, trying to hide behind one another on the shale as the arrows peppered them and they fell, one after another.  Wulfbert stayed low on his rock and watched with horrified eyes, vowing one day to return and take vengeance on these island looters and savages.

Wulfbert lay on his rock for a long time; long after the scavengers finished off any of his surviving shipmates, stripped them, and had left the beach.  Every movement was agony, but the sea was slowly getting calmer and he knew that he had to climb over the rocks to the shore.  He had thrown off most of his clothes while he struggled in the water, and had even lost his knife.  It took an hour to make it onto dry land, but he knew there was no time for rest.  He dragged his aching body into the forest, and began to head east, back towards the coast where they had taken on provisions a couple of months ago, and where the locals had been interested in their voyage and friendly as they traded.

He soon discovered that the island was indeed an island, and that he was trapped on it.  He climbed a hill and spotted two settlements, one to the north and one to the north west.  He watched the distant figures moving in the smoke of their camp fires, and swore that he would have his revenge on them.  He set off, crawling and limping through thick forests until he reached the easternmost point of the island, the farthest he could be from the settlements of the savages.  His every movement was a fearsome symphony of pain, but as night fell he managed to construct a rudimentary shelter in a spot well hidden by spruce trees.  He collapsed exhausted, and slept until the sun was high the next day.

Food.  Wulfbert was not accustomed to hunger, and he needed to eat.  He set out to hunt, but the birds chirruped their mirth at him as he tried and failed to bring them down with rocks and sticks.  His hands were bare and numb with cold, and when he spotted a hunter with his dog in the woods he knew he was going to have to take a risk.  Still crippled from his wounds, he closed on the hunter with his hands wide apart to show his intentions were peaceful.  The hunter's dog came to him, tail wagging, and Wulfbert grabbed his homemade javelin and speared the poor dog in the face.  It dropped immediately, dead before it hit the floor.  Wulfbert looked up at the hunter, and the hunter turned and fled.  Being in no condition to fight, Wulfbert scooped up the dead dog in his arm and lurched off as fast as his injuries would permit in the opposite direction, his back itching as if expecting a spear or arrow at any moment.

Wulfbert made it to his shelter, and hungry as he was the frostbites in his hands told him that the dog's fur was his first priority.  He cleaned and tanned the skin to make mittens and a hood, and roasted the meat for a hearty dinner at last.  He spent almost a week in his shelter, dining on the dog and cleaning his wounds as best he could.  He found a spot where fish could be seen, but his injured state and crude javelin meant he never managed to make a catch.  Still, each day meant less pain as his wounds healed, and when he was at last able to walk more or less normally, he set out to hunt again with hunger sharpening his senses.  The first animal he bumped into was a wolf, uncomfortably close to his shelter.  The wolf seemed alone, but Wulfbert was in no condition to take chances, and backed carefully away.

Two days and nights passed, Wulfbert's only sustenance some berries.  He had found mushrooms, but being unfamiliar with the local flora he was afraid to eat them.  Finally he chanced upon an elk and her calf, and the chase was on.  Wulfbert went after the cub, feeling that a full grown elk would be a lot to take on considering his injuries and his starved body.  The chase continued for hours; the cub fleeing on sighting Wulfbert, but each time tiring a little sooner.  The sun was setting before he was finally closing on his quarry, then suddenly the mother appeared.  She put herself between her calf and the hunter.  Wulfbert muttered a hasty prayer as he threw his javelin and watched it strike the elk in the flank, blood pouring from the wound.  The elk jumped and kicked then was gone, but she left a trail of blood that was clear even in the fading light. 

The blood trail was thick and bright and Wulfbert knew there was no need to hurry.  He had grown up a poacher, and had only run away to sea after he had been caught and escaped.  The tracking was easy, and soon he was standing over the dying elk, her flanks heaving as she fought for breath.  Wulfbert whispered soothingly to her as he cut her throat with his stone knife, stroking her head as her life seeped away.  Retrieving his javelin, he dragged the elk to some trees where he curled up next to the body to sleep while the warmth still remained.

Morning found Wulfbert starving but in a good humour, humming cheerfully to himself in anticipation of good meat as he skinned and butchered the carcass.  His stone knife meant a lot of meat was left on the bones but he didn't much care, all he thought about was the forthcoming feast.  The freshly cooked meat was music to his tastebuds, and his stomach rumbled its approval.  He spent a couple of days lazing around his camp and filling his belly until he noticed that the ice around the shore had melted.  He had resigned himself to pass the winter on the island, but now escape seemed possible - if only he had an axe to make a paddle!  Wulfbert considered the matter and soon concluded there was only one way he could get hold of an axe.  He was going to have to hunt a man.

Wulfbert built his raft bit by bit, hunting in between working but it was three days before he chanced upon an Islander out hunting.  The man had an axe and a metal knife in his belt, just what Wulfbert so desperately needed.  Wulfbert blinked in surprise as he realised the man was wearing a dress, but then shrugged.  Each to their own, he supposed.  Wulfbert tried to sneak up, but the tranvestite hunter was wary.  Obviously word had got around that there was a crazy man in the woods after Wulfbert's earlier meeting with the hunter and his late dog.  Wulfbert closed the gap as the other man backed away, the point of his spear following Wulfbert's movements.  Wulfbert held three rough javelins, and threw two of them, both easily dodged by the crossdressing spearman.

Holding his last javelin before him, Wulfbert charged.  There followed a battle royale, each stabbing, dodging and blocking until Wulfbert broke through the defence, his javelin skewering his foe in the hip and sending him over backwards onto the ground.  Wulfbert was on him in an instant, his javelin going straight through the eye of the hunter, killing him instantly.  Wasting no time, Wulfbert stripped the other man and admired his loot.  The spear was still in excellent condition, and his heart leapt as he realised the man's knife was a broadknife, perfect for skinning and hidework.  There was also a woodsman's axe, not great for any delicate work but excellent for felling trees.  There was also the woollen dress and undershirt, and some nettle trousers.  Wulfbert put the dress on - when in Finland, do as the Finns do!

The fight had left Wulfbert tired and shaky with excitement, but he recovered as he made his way back to his shelter.  Tomorrow he would use his new axe to carve a paddle, then pile his meagre belongings onto the raft and with a prayer to the sea-giant Wade he would strike out for the mainland.  The journey was much longer than he had thought, and he camped overnight on a rocky islet where he felt sure he would not be disturbed.  He set off again at first light, the sea mercifully calm as he paddled.  As night was falling he realised he was in a cove, then what could be an estuary.  He paddled hard against the current, tasting the water at intervals and finding it less brackish each time.  It was a river!  He paddled further, the trees closing in on either side until he came upon some rapids.  This, Wulfbert decided, would be home for a while.

Suggestions / Advanced game course - Archery
« on: October 24, 2021, 07:32:59 PM »
One task of the advanced game course is to increase your archery skill.  Should your character have above average archery skill already, this is a massive pain in the arse - I have just gone through six bowstrings (so about 600 arrows loosed?) which has taken over two days in game and two hours in real time!  T + Enter + Enter, repeat 50 times then go pick up the arrows and repeat, repeat, repeat etc. 

It was not fun.

I am aware that the idea is that the player is encouraged to go bow-hunting, and the text for the task makes it seem that you need to be shooting live creatures for it to work.  However, some time ago I learned that shooting into the ground or anything really also work; and I am always impatient to get onto the Great Man of the Forest and Kaumo Furs parts of the course, which are great fun.

I think the task should be changed now that making bows is modelled better:  Make a bow and some arrows, then hit something that's alive with it.  This would still encourage the player to go bow-hunting and teach him how it works, and not leave the players with high archery skill crippled by repetitive strain injuries! 

Suggestions / Groundworking and levelling terrain for building
« on: October 14, 2021, 01:33:53 AM »
It seems the most efficient place to build a cabin is right by the shore of a river, lake or sea tile.  This is not very realistic, as if you build too close to the water you would be sure to flood at some time.

I would suggest that to discourage this, a contiguous wooden building should only be possible on a flat bit of land, which is usually found a little uphill from the shoreline.   

What would be great though is if we could do groundwork - that is raise or lower the level of terrain with a shovel and about maybe eight times the effort needed to dig a pit.  Even better would be if raising or lowering the level of one tile forced you to correspondingly lower or raise an adjacent tile - all that earth has to go somewhere or come from somewhere, after all.   

Building right by the shore should still be possible, but this would make it a lot more work to simulate making some rudimentary flood defences with the moved earth.

A small hunting cabin should usually be unaffected by this, which is good - but I think a larger house needs to be made more challenging to build.  Groundwork can do this!

Bug reports / 3.70 beta 3 - randomly catching branches while rod fishing
« on: October 02, 2021, 01:11:43 PM »
Every once in a while when rod fishing from the shore in rapids, I catch a branch.  The branches do not stack with my other branches, and I have caught them while fishing both successfully and unsuccessfully.  I am wondering if this is bug or feature, as a waterlogged old branch is fairly normal bycatch on my fishing trips in the real world!

I am running Windows 10 and URW 3.70 beta 3 via Steam, without mods.

Suggestions / Make foreign traders easier to locate
« on: September 13, 2021, 06:44:32 PM »
Three times recently I have encountered foreign traders while on a hunt, each time speaking with them and presumably telling them to wait a few hours and I would be back with the world's supply of quality furs.

Each time I have got home, loaded up on furs and headed back to where I met them.  Each time it seems this group of six or seven Swedes crashing about in the undergrowth is far more elusive than any elk.

Foreign traders are combing the cuds looking for hunters like me.  They have no reason to hide from anyone, and in fact would want to make their presence known to everyone possible.  Maybe a chat option to tell them you'll be back, that makes them remain in place for a day?  Or now that NPCs can light fires, make fires visible from a long distance away and have the traders make camp and keep a fire burning?

Even better, I would prefer to see foreign traders set up in villages for a week or so at a time.  It makes no sense to have them wandering about randomly, they would go to a settlement and wait for the local hunters and trappers to come to them.   

Gameplay questions / Use of a dead vagabond as bait
« on: September 05, 2021, 09:19:22 PM »
I have in my possession the recently and most tragically deceased body of a young vagabond adventurer.  I found I can neither butcher nor skin him, so I lobbed his corpse onto one of my trap pits to serve as bait.

I have already got over the moral implications of this; reasoning that it is simply an iron-age method of donating one's body to science, which I feel sure this young man would have wanted.  It's a strictly technical question - are his rotting remains likely to help catch me a bear?

Actually you can slate my morals if you see fit, but I just got the "unity with the forest" message so I am sleeping soundly no matter what you may think  ;D

I had a badger down and bleeding out, and while I waited for him to depart I broke the ice in the nearby marsh to get a drink.  The badger died just as I finished breaking the ice, and disappeared leaving only a bloodscape and the javelin I had stuck him with!  I have a save game if needed, message log below:

(3C5A98):sagf:[:]{0B350133}      | The badger seems to have fallen unconscious.
  • {0B350133}      | Things that are there:

(000000):sagf:{0B350133}      | unconscious, seriously wounded small badger
(000000):sagf:{0B350133}      | bloodscape
  • {0B350133}      | You unwield your javelin.

  • {0B350133}      | The fine northern spear wielded as a primary weapon.

(663333):sagf:[&]{0B350133}      | You sneak ahead.
  • {0B350133}      | Weapon Aspect: Blunt

  • {0B350133}      | Aiming Zone: Head

(000000):sagf:[Y]{0B350133}      | You try to swing the badger with your northern spear.
  • {0B350133}      | The attack properties of the northern spear add a decent bonus to the success of your attack.

(000000):sagf:[Y]{0B350133}      | You carry out a perfect blow.
(000000):sagf:[Y]{0B350133}      | Your northern spear strikes hard to its shoulder!
(A80000):sagf:[!]{0B350133}      | It starts to bleed from the shoulder.
(3C5A98):sagf:[:]{0B350133}      | The badger seems to have fallen unconscious.
  • {0B350133}      | Things that are there:

(000000):sagf:{0B350133}      | unconscious, grievously wounded small badger
(000000):sagf:{0B350133}      | bloodscape
(663333):sagf:[&]{0B350133}      | You move like a ghost.
(663333):sagf:[&]{0B350133}      | You sneak ahead.
(147870):sagf:[?]{0B350133}      | Make a hole in the ice?
(147870):sagf:[?]{0B350133}      | (1) You need weapon to break ice.
  • {0B350133}      | The fine northern spear in your inventory will be used.

  • {0B350133}      | Ok, you have all the necessary equipment!

(A80000):sagf:[!]{0B350133}      | The northern spear is a satisfactory tool here and its fine quality certainly helps.
(000000):sagf:[@@]{0B350133}     | the badger sighs once, then stays laying dead still.
(000000):sagg:[Y]{0B350133}      | You made a hole in the ice.
(663333):sagg:[&]{0B350133}      | You are a bit thirsty.

Suggestions / Too many Njerps?
« on: January 22, 2020, 05:47:46 PM »
I am based in the south west, between Driik and Sartola lands.  I am doing the Big Elk part of the Advanced Adventures course, sallying out daily from my cabin to hunt a big elk.  In 2 weeks of this, I have found and killed 4 elk and 6 Njerps.

I would be fine with this if I was anywhere near Njerp lands, but it seems excessive considering how remote I am from them. 

I feel it's a major game balancing issue - I am a combat orientated character so for me the Njerps are easy kills and make me rich.  If I were not combat orientated then each Njerp would be a deadly peril.  I have also tried playing hermit type characters in the far north and a surplus of wandering Njerps made those runs either too easy or too hard as well. 

My suggestion is that around Njerp lands yes it should be crawling with Njerps, but in the far west and north they should be extremely rare.  That way players who want easy kills or constant terror can settle near the Njerps, and those who would prefer not to slaughter more men than Genghis Khan in a play-through can settle in somewhat more peaceful lands.

Bug reports / Persistent injury effect on speed?
« on: January 23, 2019, 10:43:58 PM »
My Finn has speed maxed out and was walking at 8 kmh in his hunting gear...  until he took an arrow to the knee  :(

The minor puncture wound has healed but his speed hasn't, he is now at 7 kmh and that drops to 6 kmh with gear.

I am running version 3.52 and using the BAC mod.

I've been playing URW quite a while now and have never seen injury effects persist after the injury has healed.  Anybody got any idea if my speed will come back?

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