Weaselly Role-Playing

Aug 20 2009

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So, a while ago, I noticed a Twitter RPG design competition. You had to pitch and describe a tabletop RPG system in 140 characters or less. A fun little challenge. I’d just been reading the Mouse Guard RPG system, where the main villains are tricky weasels, and they struck me as interesting characters. So, an RPG about weasels.

I’ve also been toying on-and-off with a dead simple RPG system, designed for play with non-RPG friends. It uses a straightforward roll-under D6 mechanic; if you’re attempting a dangerous vehicular stunt and have a Driving skill of 4, you roll a six-sided die and succeed if you roll 1, 2, 3, or 4.

So, weasels. Needed a few basic attributes for weasels. Standard role-playing attributes are mind-related (intelligence, wisdom), body-related (strength, constitution, dexterity), and social (charisma), plus hit points and such. But since I had very little space for flavor, these had to be very weaselly attributes. So I settled on Sneaky (mind), Vicious (body), Persuade (social), and Health.

Since I was using a six-sided die, each trait had to have only a few points, balanced in some way. This took a bit of fiddling; you want characters with at least one good skill that doesn’t make them useless in everything else. I ended up with requiring a total of 13 in all 4 traits.

How to handle combat? Simple: all hits do 1 point of damage, subtracted from Health. When you run out of Health, you fall unconscious or die or whatever makes sense for the situation.

Which lead to the following tweet:

Play intelligent weasels with other beasts in forest. 13 points in Sneaky, Vicious, Persuade, Health. Beat 1d6 to succeed; 1 damage per hit

Today, I discovered that it won the competition. Wow!

This was so cool that I opened up NeoOffice and typed up a one-page combined system explanation and character sheet. This led to an expansion of the system: for example, if you don’t make your die roll, you still succeed, but with a complication of your choice. I then created a quick page for the game on my Musaeum of Fantastic Wonders.

So, you can now download Weasels! as a one-page PDF, which contains a description of the weasels’ world, the mechanics of the system, and space for your weasel’s traits and attributes. Enjoy!

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