Once again, I’m
shamelessly stealing drawing inspiration from Little Mephling for some RPG outlet. We’ve been starting on the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, one of my favorite set of books from when I was little. It’s an enchanting story, an action-packed adventure, and a richly-built world with lots of different cultures and histories. Needless to say, it’s a goldmine in terms of roleplaying.
To capture the feel of the world of Redwall, I’m turning once more to my favorite kid’s RPG: No Thank You, Evil! This Cypher-system game is awesome and adaptable so why not try it with the Redwall setting? That was rhetorical but I should mention that there are tons of options out there for games that capture the feel of books like Redwall. There’s the great RPG called Return of the Woodland Warriors which is a fantastic OSR-style game channeling Redwall as well as The Secret of NIMH and Disney’s Robin Hood. There’s also the less-great-but-still-on-brand Cairn RPG and, of course, dirt-simple options just to get straight to the story.
However, if you want to use No Thank You, Evil! for the mouse-and-swords genre then here’s a start. The adjectives and verbs in No Thank You, Evil! should work for this, but I have a collection of nouns to get the animal characters seen in the books. I’ve also focused on the idea of Redwall here to keep it vague, but if you want to run a canon-based campaign in Jacques’ work then it shouldn’t take too much.
The unquestionable heroes of Redwall, mice are to the woodland creatures fantasy genre what humans are to standard fantasy RPGs. They have the potential to do anything, unlike other species, and so are versatile and neutral. You can use this version if you have a lot of mouse characters (or you really like it) but otherwise you can use this simpler version.
Tough 1, Fast 3, Smart 3, Awesome 3, Fun 3. Defense Hustle.
Defender of the Weak: Mice are small but they make some of the biggest heroes in the woods. When you stand up to a bigger creature and try to force them to back off, you can spend Awesome to Try Harder and lower the Goal no matter what kind of action the Guide says it is.
Big and strong, badgers are also fierce protectors and good friends. They are dependable members of the community as well as forces to be reckoned with when evil creatures threaten the weak.
Tough 5, Fast 1, Smart 2, Awesome 2, Fun 3. Defense Strong Muscles.
Big and Strong: Badgers are pretty big and they’ve got strength to match. When you want to lift, drag, or pull something heavy you can do it as long as the thing doesn’t weigh more than you.
Fast and resourceful, hares are often the ones scouting out what the enemy is doing. They have fun-loving attitudes and plenty of jokes, but they also know how to scrap when the people they care about are in trouble.
Tough 2, Fast 4, Smart 3, Awesome 1, Fun 3. Defense Hustle.
Like the Wind: You are really super-fast. You can outrun any other creature and you might even be able to move faster than things like arrows or rivers.
Though slow-moving and quiet, hedgehogs are also tough and scrappy. Their spines protect them and make them confident in standing up to bigger creatures. They are also folk of simple desires who make wonderful crafts and take care of their neighbors.
Tough 3, Fast 2, Smart 3, Awesome 2, Fun 3. Defense Spines
Curl Up: When you curl up, predators can’t get to you. You can’t take any actions yourself except talking but you also don’t take any damage to any of your trait pools.
Round, fuzzy, and near-sighted it’s easy to see moles as funny little creatures of no consequence. However, they are strong workers and loyal friends who will go to the ends of the Earth to protect those they care about.
Tough 3, Fast 1, Smart 4, Awesome 2, Fun 3. Defense Tough
Master Digger: You can dig really quickly, fast enough to move yourself through the ground at the same speed that a mouse or badger can walk above it. If you run into tough ground or lots of loose stones you might need to make a Tough roll to keep going.
Fun-loving and energetic, otters are great friends and dependable allies. They are the masters of stream and shore, able to swim through the water like a fish and scamper over steep rocks as well.
Tough 2, Fast 3, Smart 2, Awesome 3, Fun 3. Defense Hustle
Expert Swimmers: You can swim really well, even leaping out of the water and onto ledges. You can outswim anything that isn’t a fish, but if the water is choppy or something is trying to hold you back it might take a Tough roll.
Selfish and greedy, rats have a bad reputation that many think they deserve. Often rats are the enemy but some rats might be nice enough to side with kindly creatures against even more vicious creatures like wildcats and hawks.
Tough 3, Fast 3, Smart 2, Awesome 2, Fun 3. Defense Hustle
Mean Attitude: When you threaten or intimidate another creature, you can always use Tough no matter what kind of action the Guide says it is.
These big birds love the rain and searching for food in the soil. They don’t like picking fights and can be very good friends to communities of walking creatures that win them over.
Tough 2, Fast 3, Smart 3, Awesome 2, Fun 3. Defense Hustle
The Early Bird: If you have five minutes, you can search in the soil and find enough tasty worms to feed your whole group of friends. Other creatures might not enjoy worms as much as you do but they have enough good stuff to keep them from starving.
Loud, touchy, and numerous, shrews are sometimes difficult to get along with but they are good-hearted and brave. It might not always be quiet having a band of shrews living next to you but you can always count on them in times of danger or hardship.
Tough 3, Fast 2, Smart 3, Awesome 2, Fun 3. Defense Hustle
Teamwork: When you are doing a Group Action and you help out someone who has failed their roll you can use Smart as well as Awesome.
This fast and talkative birds live together in big groups, often on the roofs and in the trees of other creatures’ homes. They can be difficult and sometimes will pick fights if they think someone is being rude but they are good creatures in the end who will help against cruelty.
Tough 1, Fast 4, Smart 2, Awesome 3, Fun 3. Defense Hustle
Unladen: You are a fast and nimble flyer. You can fly faster than pretty much anything, as fast as a hare can run, but you might have to make a Fast roll in tricky situations like strong winds or when you’re carrying something.
Quick and funny, squirrels are always showing off. It would be a lot more annoying if they weren’t so good at it and even a grumpy badger or distracted mole can’t help but be entertained by a squirrel swinging through the trees like a crazy beast.
Tough 1, Fast 4, Smart 2, Awesome 3, Fun 3. Defense Hustle
Natural Acrobat: You can climb pretty much anything, though sometimes you’ll have to make a Fast roll if it’s something tricky (like a stone wall) or if something is making it really hard (like a bad storm or someone hanging on your back).