More Nouns for No Thank You, Evil!

After hanging out with my son on Father’s Day last weekend, I thought I’d put some thought into games built for kids. The one I’m most excited about playing with him when he’s older is No Thank You, Evil!, a Cypher-system game for children using the same engine as Numenera and The Strange.

The structure of the game is that you use the basic building blocks of the Cypher system (“I’m a {adjective} {noun} who {verbs}”) and introduce the elements one at a time. Little kids use just the noun (“I’m a robot!”) and when they’re six or so they add the adjective (“I’m a super-fast robot!”). Eventually when they turn double-digits, they’re using the whole thing (“I’m a super-fast robot who loves ice cream!”). After that, they can just use the Cypher System Rulebook.

The book comes with ten different nouns to start off with: astronaut, creature, fighter, kid, pirate, princess/prince, robot, spy, superhero, and wizard. These all work well but the system is pared down enough and Cypher easy to manipulate enough that I thought I’d add a few other options for other interested parents out there.

Tolkien Nouns

If your kid has loved reading through The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings (or if your kid is super-nerdy, The Silmarillion), they might want to play some of the characters in there.


how-to-draw-a-dwarf-for-kids_1_000000008988_5Dwarves live underground and like gold most of all. Their families are most important to them and they often go on journeys to see relatives or to learn no stories to bring home. A dwarf is usually short and grumpy a lot of the time, but they love shiny and beautiful things.

Tough: 5  |  Fast: 1  |  Smart: 1
Awesome: 3  |  Fun: 3

Defense: Armor (Protects you from 1 point of damage from attacks)

Charge! (costs 1 Tough): You can run into the bad guys and shove them out of the way. When you want to knock a group of bad guys back or to the side, you succeed.

Stuff: Armor, an axe, an I Gotchyer Back pack, Hero Stuff, and 2 coins.

Dwarf Background: Choose oen of these as a background, or make up your own.

  1. Your parents were awesome metalworkers and they showed you the secrets to making amazing metal things.
  2. You love adventuring but you get angry at people when they make short jokes.
  3. Your best friend is not a dwarf and you left your home in the mountains to have adventures with them.


Elves are beautiful and magical, what’s not to like! They live for a very long time and have taught many things to the other peoples. They make beautiful music and live in beautiful towns.

Tough: 1  |  Fast: 3  |  Smart: 2
Awesome: 4  |  Fun: 3

Defense: Hustle (Lowers your defend Goal by 1)

Elf Senses (costs 1 Smart): Elves can see and hear really, really well. Whenever you use 1 Smart to look for someone or listen for sounds you automatically succeed.

Stuff: Elf clothes, an elf bow and arrows, an I Gotchyer Back pack, Hero Stuff, and 1 coin.

Elf Background: Choose one of these as a background, or make up your own.

  1. You play an instrument and want to start a band, but you need to find other musicians to play with you.
  2. You are a pretty young elf, only like 100 years old, and you ran away from home to show your parents you could go on adventures.
  3. You used to live in Rivendell but you’re really allergic to the trees there. You want to find another elf-town to live in where you don’t sneeze so much.



Hobbits like eating, sleeping, hanging out with friends, eating, going on nice walks, good weather, eating, fun songs, and eating. They like to be comfortable but they’re also really good at being sneaky. Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit from the Shire, is one of the most famous sneaks in the world!

Tough: 1  |  Fast: 3  |  Smart: 3
Awesome: 3  |  Fun: 3

Defense: Hustle (Lowers your defend Goal by 1).

Light Feet (costs 1 Fast): Hobbits walk really softly and they can slip past people they don’t want to fight. Whenever you sneak past someone and use 1 Fast to stay quiet, you automatically succeed.

Stuff: A yummy lunch, a backup lunch, a melee weapon, an I Gotchyer Back pack, Hero Stuff, and 1 coin.

Hobbit Backgrounds: Choose one of these as a background, or make up your own:

  1. Your friends dared you to go adventuring one day and you did it just to show them. You can’t wait to get back to your comfy bed, though.
  2. You want to see the whole world so that you can go back home and win this year’s Hobbiton Storytelling Contest.
  3. You love pies and you’re traveling the world to find all the different pie-makers out there and find who has the best recipe.


Star Wars Nouns

Some kids might go for Star Wars more than Lord of the Rings. If you’re stuck on the question of what order to watch the films (in order, original trilogy first, or the novel IV-V-II-III-VI approach) I can’t help you. I can, however, provide you with some Star Wars options for your kiddos.

First of all, some things are already taken care of. Droids can be Robots, Princesses and Queens can be… well Princesses, Wookies can be Creatures, and Smugglers can be Pirates. The other options are below.


The Jedi are cool space knights who can lift things with their mind and make people forget about stuff. They hace light sabers that can cut through anything and even block lasers. The Jedi Order trains all the Jedi from the time that they’re little kids until they can be knights all on their own.

Tough: 2  |  Fast: 3  |  Smart: 2
Awesome: 3  |  Fun: 3

Defense: Hustle (Lowers your defend Goal by 1).

Use the Force (costs 1 Awesome): You can lift things up with your mind, even really heavy stuff. If you want to use the force to pick up something small, go for it. If you want to pick up something really big (like an X-Wing or a person) you need to spend 1 Awesome.

Stuff: Jedi clothing, a light sabre, an I Gotchyer Back pack, Hero Stuff, and 1 coin.

Jedi Background: Choose one of these as a background, or make up your own:

  1. You were saved by a Jedi when you were a little kid and now you have grown up to be one!
  2. Yoda sent you out on adventures to find his favorite flavor of ice cream, beetle. If you can find a pint and bring back to him, he promises to give you a special light saber with two blades.
  3. You’re looking for a droid that you built as a kid. He wandered off one day after getting zapped by a wall socket and you’re worried he’s getting into trouble.



All the spaceships in the universe aren’t any good without someone to fly them, and you’re one of the best! You can fly your spaceship in all sorts of awesome maneuvers, spin circles around bigger ships, and make the Kessel Run in less than five parsecs.

Tough: 1  |  Fast: 3  |  Smart: 3
Awesome: 3  |  Fun: 3

Defense: Hustle (Lowers your defend Goal by 1).

Punch It! (costs 1 Smart): Your spaceship has hyperdrive which means it can go faster than even a beam of light. If you use 1 Smart you can get anywhere in Storia in the blink of an eye.

Stuff: Keys to your spaceship, pilot clothes, a melee or ranged weapon, an I Gotchyer Back pack, Hero Stuff, and 1 coin.

Pilot Background: Choose one of these as a background, or make up your own:

  1. You grew up chasing womp-rats back home. This is just like that, but in space!
  2. You used to be a stormtrooper, one of the bad guys, but now you’re a cool pilot fighting evil!
  3. You learned to fly your spaceship with your best friend, an alien that only you can understand.



2 thoughts on “More Nouns for No Thank You, Evil!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.