Going on the premise that a lot of page views are more important than comments, I'm ready to try a close-hand investigation of another tech level; this will be a series like tech five, since there's too much to talk about in just one post. I think I will go back and adjust the titles of the tech-5 series (giving them the prefix 'T5' just as this one is 'T6'). That will help me and the reader find them more easily.
Tech-6 is already getting complicated. We've gone from purely nomadic societies to dwellings and permanent population centers; there are immediate signs of specialized work done by larger groups and much of what's done is not directly related to keeping clan and family together. Yet I want to retain the 'clan' ideal, for this tech at least, because it helps organize the drift of population from hex to hex and occupation to occupation. For much of this series, however, I will be talking about 'tribes' - which we'll arbitrarily define as two or more clans working closely together. The tribes in tech-5 would meet occasionally at certain times of the year, the clans coming together to share. Now tribes are a more permanent fixture, creating a tribal leader who is a higher form of chief. Both clans and tribes have 'chiefs' so it makes the matter difficult. I'm going to settle the matter by imposing the term tribal "chieftain" as the superior over clan "chief" - please don't impose any importance upon this terminology other than my desire for order and clarity.
Let me point out that, regardless of the notes below, there would still be various groups inside a T6 culture that would be entirely T5 in structure and behaviour. Try to retain their presence in the hinterland of the T6 culture as we go forward.
Like before, let's start at the clan level. For T6, clans will be slightly bigger. Permanent homes increase the number of children (as they don't need to be carried and can be more easily cared for). I propose that the T6 clan will have 30-65 humanoids (25 +5d8), with 1-4 infants, 2-7 children and 2-7 youths. Once again, an infant is less than 3 years of age, a child is aged 3 to 7 and a youth is age 8 to 14. Most children and youths will work long hours even at a very young age, being encouraged to spend their time in varying ways (have a look at farm-life in the 19th century for ideas).
Let's increase the number of women by changing the male:female ratio to 1.4:1. We can then imagine a typical clan of 47 humanoids: 2 infants, 5 children, 4 youths, 21 men and 14 women (average clan size is 47.5).
This means that a small tribe will measure around a hundred people - this would equal the smallest size of village that exists in my world. So every small village would be made up of one tribe; larger villages may be one tribe or they may be two. Towns would be conglomerations of several tribes. This helps make clear how the cultural rulership of a town works: each tribe has a chieftain and perhaps two or three elders (representing the strongest clans in that tribe). These would then meet as a council to make decisions. The head of the council may have a number of titles: hetman, thane, bey, sheik, rajah, king and so on. Remember that a name like 'king' was used very frequently for very small groups; not every king was leader of a great country.
Technologies & Abilities
T6 gave us five technologies: mining, the wheel, agriculture, animal husbandry and archery. New abilities - sage abilities - should logically come out of that list. I don't argue that this is comprehensive; I may have missed something. Hell, last time I missed 'hunting' (though I went back later and added it in). We do the best we can.
I'll skip incidental abilities this time around (a person could go crazy trying to nail all those down). Let's stick to abilities that naturally derive from the technologies named (and this time I'll put the class associated with that ability in brackets). Remember, unless indicated that fighter class includes rangers and paladins. Let me emphasize, however, that while those classes would gain these abilities, they wouldn't exist in a T6 culture - not thieves, assassins, druids or bards either, for that matter. These skills, where possessed, would be used by cross-trained fighters & clerics or by individual workers.
Bowyer (fighter/assassin) - from archery. If bows are going to be employed by the populace, someone will have to be there to make them. I agree that many bows will be made by the users themselves (which would fit into individuals having this as a low-level amateur ability). Where many people congregate, however, it will become obvious that some are better at this skill than others, so that bowyers (though few in number) will become a specialized profession. I'll add fletcher to this, since making arrows would also be a much wanted thing. We may presume that a tribe would have one or two persons, performing both skills or each skill individually.
Cartwright (worker) - from the wheel. If we're going to have wheels, and therefore roads, we'll want carts. I don't choose to incorporate this skill into any particular class. Characters can get the skill from my background generator. At present, however, I don't see it as a 'sage ability'; perhaps I might change my mind about that. For the present, we can assume that workers in the tribe apply themselves to making carts as necessary.
Cultivation (druid/worker) - from agriculture. The druid gets this skill from knowledge of grasses and grains, where I call it farming. For an ordinary worker it is just cultivation without all the farming bells and whistles. We can add brewing as a skill, since we know fermentation probably preceded the cultivation of grains in human history (in fact, we may have started farming just so we could get drunk more often - makes sense to me). Most brewing would be done by individuals, and badly; but most of the leading family members among the clans would be skilled at cultivation.
Defense against Predation (fighter) - from animal husbandry. I'm basing this entirely upon tales and traditions of agricultural folklore where various herders (and often young men) fight off wolves, bears, lions, tigers and so on. The theme tends to appear in many different parts of the world, with different animals taking the role of huge dangerous predator. I'm thinking that fighters with animal training would gain a +1 armor class when fighting specific kinds of animal or semi-intelligence predator.
Domestication (fighter) - from animal husbandry. This would also be part of the animal training for fighters - the ability to 'break' horses, tame dogs, sheep, goats or cattle, or pacify a range of other animals (acknowledging that some unusual variants, such as the leopard or cormorant, would probably not appear at T6) would be a natural gain for both fighters and rangers. Arguably, the skill could be included in the bard as well, though perhaps not because I feel it might be managed in a completely different way.
Horseback riding (fighter) - from animal husbandry. I have a rule that warhorses can only be ridden by fighter classes - but at this tech, there probably wouldn't be warhorses. I also have a rule, however, that only fighter classes can ride a horse into battle - so while most of the classes can manage to get on a horse and ride it, only the fighter gets this particular training. At any rate, we would see a cultural increase in people not travelling by foot.
Mining (fighter/mage/thief) - from mining. Why do I include mages and thieves? Because mining is often an intellectual activity as well as a physical one and thieves are generally motivated to finding short-cuts. Therefore I'd include the skill in both these classes. I only include the fighter because mining also applies directly to war. Most actual labor in mines, remember, would be done by workers, under the direction of a classed individual. The skill set at T6 would only apply to soft stone, near-surface mining, though creating drifts, shafts, winzes and raises, as well as skill in shoring tunnels, would all be included. The chance of a tunnel collapsing would be high, so I would imagine that would be the real limit on how deep a tunnel would be dug by a rational society (near enough to the surface that a collapse could be dug out before the miners all died).
Navigation (druid/fighter/thief) - from fishing. Yes, fishing was a T5 technology, but there are bound to be improvements with T6. One of those would be a willingness to move farther from land, so that setting a course over land or sea, by the stars, would be acquired by a few rare individuals. The druid gains the skill from time in the outdoors; same with rangers; other fighters through military interests and thieves because they're willing to be pirates.
Pathfinding II (ranger) - from hunting. Like navigation above, this is an improvement over pathfinding I, described in the T5 posts. Here the ranger is able to improve the chance of others to avoid accidents, giving a +4 to ability checks and saves against accidents that might occur while travelling over untracked country (something that sounds like it needs a set of rules, doesn't it?). I perceive that a ranger could only help 1 person per level, so that the ranger would have to specify who was being helped on each given day.
Ploughwright (worker) - from agriculture. This is just a placeholder for a wide variety of tools that would need to be made by someone, from winnowing baskets to ploughs to harnesses for oxen. Characters can get this from the background generator (when I rewrite the damn thing). I don't feel it needs to be a sage ability, not especially.
Prospecting (druid/thief) - from mining. The druid has the skill included under geology. Perhaps I just want to include thieves because of Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but I return to the argument that thieves are the sort that look for short cuts.
Stonecarving (bard) - from mining. The appearance of soft stone and gems, coupled with the appearance of practical tools (trade through navigation and connections with the outside, higher tech world would bring in hardened iron for general use) would encourage a more sophisticated artistic passion. Many workers would probably choose to express themselves by making small sculptures when not working, in poor seasons - and the appearance of so many such sculptures would likely dilute the importance of fetishism (replacing it with our modern perception of sentimentality).
Teamster (fighter) - from the wheel & animal husbandry. In a T6 culture the driver would be limited to oxen and donkeys, not horses. Most likely, most carts would be drawn by one, perhaps two animals. I'd like to leave four-in-hand or six-in-hand teams to higher tech levels, with the proliferation of the four-wheeled wagon. I'm limiting my T6 vehicles to carts only - not because it's necessarily reality, but because it is a nice indication for the players when they pass through such areas.
There, that's an overview. Like before, I'll be getting onto religion, improvements, tools and treasure.