Cattle in Prax

From: Ian Gorlick (igorlick@nortelnetworks.com)
Date: Tue 10 Aug 1999 - 00:25:25 EEST


I personally believe that cattle and horses can survive just fine in Prax.
"Why?" you ask. Because it is more fun that way.

If cattle and horses couldn't live in Prax, then the nomads wouldn't have to
worry about them.
There would be no need to fight and kill those people who
keep them. That would be dull. You could assume that simple religious
prejudice is enough to keep the nomads fighting the cattle/horse people. I
prefer to give them a good underlying reason for their religious prejudice.

If cattle and horses can survive but only marginally, then the nomads have
some need to go after them, but they can afford to take the long view since
the horse/cattle folk can't really compete with the well-adapted nomads.
This could work out well for your game, but I want this conflict to be a bit
hotter in mine.

If cattle and horses can survive and actually thrive in Prax, then the
cattle/horse peoples are real competitors for the nomads and the nomads need
to attack these people to preserve their own land and way of life.

Here's a possible idea to really drive the conflict: Cattle and horses not
only survive in Prax, but as they interact with the environment (or as their
owners perform their various annual rituals on the land) the land becomes
modified to improve their survival and becomes less well-adapted for the
native animals. This gives the nomads a whole lot of reasons to ensure that

cattle- and horse-grazing never get established in Prax.

Another possibility is that horses and cattle may sometimes harbour endemic
diseases or parasites that aren't much of a burden for them, but are serious
problems for the native beasts. This gives a good underlying reason for the
nomads' taboos against horses. Contact with a horse might allow the
infection to get back to a nomad's own herds, even a dead horse is unclean.
Of course, this infection problem could work both ways, leading both sides
to despise the other.
- ------------------
Someone asked what the value of Waha's Covenant was if cattle could live in
Prax? The Covenant is a deal between the humans and the beasts: the humans
get to live off the beasts, the beasts get the protection of the humans. The
Covenant doesn't directly keep cattle off the land, but it obliges the

nomads to keep the cattle off so their own herds can prosper.

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