Cavemaster is probably not like most games you’ve played – Basic Role Playing, D&D, Savage Worlds, heck, even the new Star Wars Edge of the Empire all try to do something innovative and different with dice. You role-play and roll dice to spice up the story telling.
The Habilis game system is something else entirely. No dice. But this is not a dice-less system, it’s just that, well, cavemen didn’t have dice so an authentic caveman game shouldn’t use dice. What does a paleolithic gamer use? Sticks and stones. No really, you use little things you should be able to find just about anywhere to build up a “dice pool”, distribute them on your awesome character sheet (an animal skin) and off you go.
Although you probably could explore a damp and menacing dungeon, you might want to first go hunting for the food your tribe needs to last one more day. Bag yourself a bison without getting gored? Good job, now how are you going to cook it? Fire? Who knows how to make fire? Yeah, forget the cave and gold. You need shelter and those crazy herbs the elder swears will cure the tribe’s lack of offspring. They’re easy to find. You just need to go to the Lost Valley. Gird your loins and take up your flint spear. It’s off for real adventure – survival.
Ok, enough of that. Cavemaster is a truly innovative game that lets you tell and experience stories form a more primitive time. It is relatively easy to learn but contains a dynamic and rich resolution mechanic that allows a more invested style of play.
Finally, there is a bit of “stonepunk” to it that allows a cavemaster (GM) to introduce a bit less realistic elements into their campaign. There are unfamiliar races, rules for introducing magic, dinosaurs (but keep an eye out for the Dinosaurs of the Lost Valley coming out soon), and even visitors from another time or place. So whether you need a jazzy one-off for something different or a whole campaign inspired by the dawn of civilization, Cavemaster is a vital step in gamer evolution.
It’s a bit cheesy, but hopefully it’ll help you know what you’re getting into.