So I ran a session of Pyrrhic Weasel with my littler brother. Pyrrhic Weasel is a game system made by Jones Smith/Screwhead Mcduff on his blog and can be read about here, here and here. However I made some modifications. Instead of 2d6 the dice mechanic I used was rolling a pool of d6s and if one of them comes up with a 6 than you succeed. To reflect this change I decreased the ranks of starting Motifs by one so that you wouldn't be rolling 5 dice at the beginning. I kinda goofed with how Training was converted which I'll explain after I show the character that was generated. I choose not to touch Paths because I'm still getting a handle on Motifs.
- Profile: Delicate face with a delicate scar.
- Form: Slender and wiry.
- Virtue: Confident and forgiving.
- Vice: Cowardly and greedy.
- Quirks: Slow(when calm), Swift(when panicking), Delicate Stomach.
- Knight's Sword
- Rank *
- Theme: Grim
- Ceremonial Fencing Sword gotten from a great task preformed for Gnome King Bob. Signifies Sibub's knighthood in the Order of the Worm.
- Practical Helm
- Rank **
- Theme: Heroic
- Your best friend made you this very good full helm the summer that they died.
- Sun Hammer
- Rank *
- Theme: Heroic
- Your fest friend made you this hammer inscribed with the rune suno. It is worn from use but magnificent.
- Knight **
- Blacksmith *
Other things that aren't written down but are part of the fiction: Sibub is a human who was raised in the gnome kingdom (gnomes and dwarves are equivalent) and his best friend was a gnome.
Character generation was fun but ended up taking somewhere around an hour of rolling and discussing to iron out the details. The motifs are very good for ironing out a character and their story. An issue that came up was that I ended up with coming up with more interpretations that my brother and ended up having a lot of say in how Sibub turned out.
Now with the Training thing, I only realized when we got to it that I misunderstood that you get one Training, as I was planning to use it as the main source of dice pools and assumed there would be three. Since me and my brother couldn't come up with a third thing for Sibub we went with the two that made sense and I ruled that they would be at one and two ranks.
The rune suno relates to the magic system I made months ago and will write a blog post about once I've gotten at least one session where it's playtested.
- I explain that the Gnome King has sent Sibub on a mission to find out what things are happening in Endon. Sibub is chosen for this mission becouse he's loyal, a human and knows enough about smithing to understand the magic goings on in the city.
- As I have recently gotten MIR and am excited to run it.
- My brother asks if he would have gone to Endon if his character turned out differently and I explained that I would have found another reason to send him there.
- I like blacksmiths being magic so that's why that makes sense.
- On the way there Sibub stopped at a village on the river Sword to swap his mountain goat mount for a horse and rest.
- I picked it because I'm most familiar and interesting in running it. I also have illustrations for all the characters there.
- Here I explained that I'm not currently ready to run Endon, today's adventure will be in this town.
- Sibub had the choice between going to the tavern or the chruch for a night's rest, he chose the tavern.
- He met Brery the tavernkeeper and she was suspsious of him but let Sibub stay.
- Brery turns out to be a bad name to pronounce and she ended up being refereed to as the tavernkeeper or barkeeper most of the time.
- She cheerfully offers Sibub a big pint of cider and says it's a tradition for travelers to chug it. All eyes in the bar are on the knight.
- He decides to chug it and immediately regrets it as his delicate stomach can't handle it and he vomits. Everyone in the tavern laughs at what happned.
- Sibub places a hand on his sword and briefly considers murder.
- That night he sleeps very unsoundly with his aching stomach.
- In the morning Brery tells him where the local witch lives and the knight finds his way there.
- The witch is introduced as Rewitte and is promptly only every refereed to as the witch from this point forward. As she brews Sibub a tea for his stomach she notices his sword and asks what the Gnome King's business is.
- My brother asks if she recognizes that it's Grim and I explain that I meant she recognizes that Sibub belongs to the Order of the Worm.
- I also explain that Grim and Heroic are things that people in the world understand in their bones, but not the mechanical specifics of how motifs work.
- Sibub explains that he's just passing thought.
- The Witch asks if Sibub would do a her a favor while he's here and slay the Wild Thing that lives in the river.
- I would have liked Brery to introduce this quest, but Sibub murder glare didn't engender trust in the barkeep.
- Sibub accepts and even says he would do it without payment. Which surprises Rewitte as he's a knight of the Order of the Worm.
- My brother was trying to formulate how to defeat the Wild Thing with the Sun Hammer.
- Than she explains how that Brery is Harric the blacksmith's daughter and that at night the Wild Thing approaches their house.
- At this point I'm shifting around the order of events to fit what happened in the fiction rather than at the table.
- Sibub goes to Brery and she explains that she's been haunted by the Thing since childhood and it keeps calling her by her grandmother's name. She also explains that she doesn't want to marry until she's sure she's safe from the Thing.
- Sibub decides he needs to forge a magical weapon(which he can do with the Sun Hammer) and goes to the Harric the Blacksmith to ask for him to borrow his forge.
- Harric loudly refuses, and Sibub leaves.
- Harric refuses both because he hates sharing his things and because he doesn't want the Thing killed.
- Sibub hides behind a bush at night and waits for many hours. Some time at midnight as shadowy and slithering form emerges from the waters and...
- to be continued!
- Session ended becouse we had other things to do.
What went well:
Character creation was interesting. I was able to improvise things alright. I don't feel like it was my A game, but these things come with practice and this is my first game in many months. This session didn't end up having any dice rolls or compromises, which I think is alright. Next session should have a big fight.
What didn't go well:
Me and my brother weren't always on the same page of what the other was saying. This is also a thing that improves with time. I don't like how motifs work at the moment, specifically how non-diegetic themes are. I have a tweak for this that I will mention lower down.
Questions for next time:
How powerful is the Thing?
Does it fear the sun?
What is the sinister side of Gnome King Bob?
What do I need to do to have Endon ready for next time?
Pyrrhic Weasel rule variant: Monikers
While Motifs are cool little bits of story my issue with them is that items that are all important to someone don't fit in my personal appendix N (which I could probably dedicate a post to describing) and doing good for the sake of fueling your sword seems weird to me if that sword is not literally Excalibur and explicitly powered by hopes and dreams. I've already written something similar in this post, where I made levels diegetic by tying them with names and applying the trope of names having power.
In this variant Motifs are replaced with Monikers which are almost mechanically identical except for the fact that they are names instead of items, and instead of a Theme, each Moniker has it's own Purpose, which is a bit closer to a Goal. Or maybe keep the Themes I'm not sure yet.
Monikers are also explicitly diegetic, in that it's known to everyone that names have power. Stress represents a name that's overused loses it's meaning, in the same way that repeating a word to many times makes it devolve into a collection of sounds. Actions that fit a Moniker's Purpose/Theme instead reinforce the meaning and make the name more true. Another note is that because rolling only happens when your at the edge of your ability, it's not your skill that matters, it's the strength of identity that decides your fate.
To get back to my original complaint "I do a good/bad thing because my identity as a Hero/Villain demands it" seems more natural and something that can be applied more broadly.
Training no longer exists in this variant. Instead, there's a new category of traits called Background which covers upbringing, education, culture and all that jazz.
I might just be allergic to assigning numbers to skills in general.
The only issue is that Monikers would need an equally fun set of tables to define them like Motifs have, which would require some tinkering to come up with something that works. Also maybe you start with only one Moniker and have to gather more as you go along? I don't know.