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Living With Megafauna, Pt. III: The Beginning


Basically a continuation of my previous thread on this subject, this time I'm pedaling all the way back to the very earliest days of hunting and gathering, to try and figure out how humanity might have taken its first steps into a world of monsters.

So, let me paint a picture for you:

You were born a slave. Raised as a beast of burden for a race of birdlike people. You don't know much about the world, you lived you life in high-walled cities performing whatever tasks you were made to. You might know what farming is, the concepts of metal and blades are not foreign to you, even if you have no idea where they come from or how to make them. Fire was an everyday sight, but was always provided by your masters - you have no idea how it's made.

You might have worked fields, chopped wood, mined stones, or perhaps simply performed a series of arbitrary rituals of which your masters did not bother to explain the purpose of. Other humans worked alongside you, performing the same tasks irrespective of sex, from as soon as you were fit to work to until you were no longer. Some tasks might have been done with the aid of other beasts of burden, though none which spoke like you or your masters could. At night you were kept in cages, any couplings you had were at the time and with the partner chosen by your masters.

Now those high-walled cities are gone. You aren't sure exactly what happened to them, only that it was chaotic and terrifying. Now there is only wilderness and your fellow slaves. Some of your masters survived with you, but they are few in number and not much better equipped. Monsters of every description wander the land, most bigger than you are and many happy to make you their next meal.

Welcome to Day One of the First Era. How do you survive?


Myth Weaver
How do you survive?
Find some friends.
Humans are really crap on their own but get a few together and other creatures better watch out. Lots of eyes to spot danger too
Find somewhere safe to sleep.
You have to sleep sometime. So a place to call home, to protect you from the weather.
Find water to drink.
You can survive for days and longer without food, but water is a different matter.
That is where I would start.
Then I'd be looking for food [or how to get it]. Then I'd see what happens next.
Make a plan...
But I'd probably be dead by noon on the first day, so what do I know.


I suppose I'll do a small bit of clarification:

I'm not literally asking how one might get their bearings in the first few hours of this new paradigm ("find friends, find shelter, find water, find food" is pretty much the universal playbook when your previous support structure suddenly vanishes, see every zombie survival guide ever). The scenario described was more to establish what humanity's baseline understanding of themselves and the world was coming out of the gate. The more important question is, how would the very first human tribes organize themselves and respond to the world presented to them, given their past experiences and the larger scale of the food web?
Subjugate the slave masters, maybe sacrifice them to the big beasties for good measure, rally around someone who can figure this stuff out. Then hide from the big ones, do what you can with the smaller ones. The general tribe building until they have the weapons and the like to take out the big fauna and go from there.


It could go a number of ways. Humans are use to taking orders, so if their former masters can keep it together they may remain in charge. Others may have broken masters that the humans keep and acquire knowledge from. These two scenarios would result in a more advanced pocket of civilisation but very different societies. The third would be humans going it alone. Since there is no one with the skills of leadership, or anyone particularly aggressive, I imagine a young, charismatic person with a flexible mind and excellent problem solving skills would organise the tribe. However, a major problem in my mind is that they have no fire, a defining and necessary prerequisite skill to survive as a human for more than a few weeks or months depending on climate, food sources, etc.

Other than that, early humans were nomadic, following the seasons and migration patterns. They built traps for small game, ambushed larger game like lions do today. I remember an article from Nat Geo I think, about a giant pit with stakes that early humans would drive mammoths into. They have one in Skyrim too. But if they know how to farm already then the next step is domesticating animals, which they do have as they have non speaking beasts of burden. Unless they can’t find any.

Hope this helps.