Heroic Hares

Looking over the Riding Hares thread I started considering that an interesting approach to the animals would be to make them playable characters, rather then just pets. This unfortunately wouldn’t mesh with the normal approach to animals (lack of skills, lack of advancement, inability to do out of nature tasks), so I was led to the concept of a “Heroic” Hare. A Heroic Hare would essentially be partially insane, from the perspective of its kin, thus giving it some limited skill use but a few major issues when pushing its nature. Here is the current theory:


Heroic Hares: Recruitment

  • Rank: Hares don’t have rank. Even those closely tied to the guard are allies, not members. They will follow orders only as much as they choose based on what agreements they have made.

  • Nature and Ability: The initial Nature (Running, Hiding, and Foraging) is one less then that of a “sane” hare, thus 5. Lower and they would not have survived to become affiliated with the guard, higher and they would be a more conventional member of the species. Your initial Will and Health are equal to your Nature, thus also 5. There are no extra Questions to lower/raise Nature during Recruitment.

  • Skills: Part of the essential insanity of the Heroic Hare is an inborn willingness to do things in an unnatural way, so they pick up a handful of skills before becoming affiliated with the guard. Still, they are unlikely to pick up anything particularly odd initially since they lack exposure to it. To reflect their pre-guard learning, the Hare gains 4 selections from the following list: Digger, Jumper, Laborer, Lorehare (like Loremouse), Pathfinder, Persuader, Scout, Weather Watcher. They gain 1 further selection to represent post-guard learning, either from that list or the additional four skills of Deceiver, Fighter, Haggler, Orator. Raise all selected skills by 1 once the final tally is determined as normal.

  • Wises: Heroic Hares are unnaturally inquisitive (part of what makes them what they are) and learn many usefull and useless pieces of information. They gain 5 Wise selections. Raise all selected wises by 1 once the final tally is determined as normal.

  • History: As each different skill or wise is selected, briefly note what life event led to the development of that skill and contributed to the bizarre mental state that allows a Heroic animal. These creatures tend to have shockingly different lives then their kin.

  • Trait 1 - “Something always seemed off about that one…”: A Heroic Hare must choose a trait to represent the insanity that sets them apart from their fellows. This is often present from birth, and inflamed by circumstance: Bold, Brave, Cunning, Curious, Driven, Extrovert, Fearless, Independent, Inquisitive, Jaded, Lost, Open-Minded, Stubborn, Suspicious. The Hare’s Instinct will almost always be tied to this trait in some manner.

  • Trait 2 - “But we figured he would grow out of it”: Hares also choose another trait to represent more traditional aspects of the animal’s nature, or life events. Alert, Calm, Clever, Compassionate, Deep Ear, Early Riser, Generous, Hard Worker, Natural Bearings, Nimble, Quick-Witted, Quiet, Scarred, Sharp-Eyed, Sharptooth, Short, Stoic, Thoughtful, Tough, Weather Sense, Wise.

  • Trait 3 - “I am only a misfit”: Lastly, they get one from the following list to represent life events after they realised that they were different. Bold, Brave, Calm, Clever, Compassionate, Cunning, Curious, Driven, Extrovert, Fearless, Generous, Hard Worker, Independent, Inquisitive, Jaded, Lost, Natural Bearings, Nimble, Oldfur, Open-Minded, Quick-Witted, Quiet, Scarred, Stoic, Stubborn, Suspicious, Thoughtful, Weather Sense, Wise.

  • Life Contacts: Name and describe Parents (deciding if they were also “Heroic”) or normal Hares, Friends, and Enemy. There is no Senior Artisan. Heroic Hares don’t have a Mentor, but do have a Rider assigned to them (one of the other players in the Patrol).

  • Circles, Gear, and Resources: Circles and Resources both start at 1, and can’t be raised during Recruitment. Such animals are disconnected both from their own kin and the mice they have allied with. Starting Gear is always a saddle (with bags) and food supplies representing their current payment for services rendered. They obviously don’t get a cloak.

  • Personality and Rewards: Select Belief, Goal, and Instinct as usual (though obviously it should be Hare appropriate). Persona and Fate start at 1.

Heroic Hares: Special Rules

  • “I will allow you to ride, if you take care where you step”: Just as a Tenderpaw requires a player Mentor to be assigned, a Hare requires a player Rider to be assigned. For long-term assignment, the Rider must have Hareback Riding skill, and should be able to communicate easily (see below). Hareback Riding is available as a skill during any Guard training phase that includes “Fighter”.

  • “If you just bothered listening”: To facilitate regular communications, either the hare must have Lorehare 3 , or at least his assigned Rider must have Loremouse 3 (Mouse-wise or Hare-wise respectively reduce this requirement by one point). When dealing with the Patrol this is sufficient to establish regular conversation. When dealing with entities outside the Patrol (or those with the appropriate skills are incapacitiated) tests must be made as usual.

  • “And how do you expect me to hold that?”: Hare can not use held tools or weapons. They could theoreticly read an offered map, but they would be unable to make one, even if they somehow developed the skill, for instance. They do of course still have access to their natural weapon (Burst of Speed p213).

  • blinks”: Even a Heroic Hare is still a prisoner of their Nature. They can only normally make checks that match their known skills, wises, or three Nature aspects. They can not use Beginner’s Luck to roll unknown skill. They may not substitute Nature for an out of nature skill roll without Tapping it. Note that this prevents them from aquiring new skills without the assistance of Instructors, or skill training during Winter. Also note that learning any skill that wasn’t on the list during character creation is highly unusual and requires justification (Hares have little use for Carpentry and Smithing). Moreso, during a Conflict (as opposed to a normal test) things are especially confusing for the Hare, and they may only make checks outside their Nature if currently being ridden by mouse with Hareback Riding.

  • “Something just seems to be… missing”: Lacking the relative comfort with civilization that mice and weasels have developed, the very act of fighting their nature leaves Heroic Hares ill both in spirit and body. The usable rating for all their skills, wises, attributes, etc are capped at their current Nature rating. These values will be restored along with the current Nature (which could be some time if they dare let their Maximum rating drop).

  • Winter Session: Practice nets the Hare 3 tests (pass or fail) on any of the skills available during Heroic Hare character creation (though only only 1 can be from the “after associated with the guard” list). Reflection works the same. And there is no Promotion of course.

  • “Yee-Haa!!!”: When mounted by a mouse with Hareback Riding skill and weapons modified specifically for mounted usage, both mount and rider are considered to be one higher then the rider on the natural order scale for purposes of fighting other animals. Each hare and rider pair forms an independent team: You can’t mix mounted and non-mounted creatures in the same group. The Heroic Hare is treated as a normal team member in conflicts and may aid or make checks as appropriate, even different ones then the Rider (the rider could Attack with his sword one action while the Hare could Maneuver them into better position the next). The Hare grants a properly equiped/trained rider a +1D to checks where the higher position and place of strength would make sense, essentially as if it was a piece of gear (this does not interfere with weapon bonuses though, and the Hare can still offer Help dice seperately if justified).

*** FINAL NOTE *** remember that the bulk of these rules only apply to Hares controlled by a player. Non player controlled ones do not have skills, advancement, or the ability to Tap nature at all.



Erk, I left out that Hareback Riding would need to be available as a skill for Guard Mice, probably on both the general training and specialty lists. I edited it in.

One big part of me says “heeee yaaaa! Let’s do it!”

And a small part of me says “wait … remember what happened when players were allowed to be Dragons?”

Not likely to be an issue unless rabbits start breathing fire. :slight_smile:

Seriously though, I can definitely see some major natural order balance issues myself going over it some more. Hmm… I’m going to edit “blinks” and “Yee-Haa!!!” a bit to tone things down, as well as actually add the Hareback Riding availability point to the notes. Basically I’m reducing the hares natural order level to the same as the augmented mouse (borrowed idea from the other thread), prevent mixed mounted/non-mounted teams (I don’t want mixed natural order level), and make it so in conflicts the rabbit can’t go outside of nature unless ridden (so you can’t use a loose rabbit as a siege weapon as easily). Hopefully that will make things less draconic…

Yup, we’re thinking along the same lines.

I think you might still have problems in letting one player play a hare and a different one play the rider. You wouldn’t want to neuter either player too much that they are worth “less” as individuals when compared to the rest of the patrol because of any kind of dependence between rider and hare.

It might be easier to work with the concept of hare and rider as just one entity … kind of a “prestige class” if I can borrow the D&D concept without getting dogpiled in this forum (grin). Following this line of thought, the prospective rider player can only “gain” his hare as part of the Winter “level up” activities (perhaps giving up other Winter activities as part of the “rider-hare boot camp”).

Or, along the lines of something that is like a pet, but more than a pet. Perhaps the GM generates and roleplays the hare. That would a rather fun way of interacting with your players in a closely-collaborated storytelling system, I think.

Hmmm … now that I think of it … you could also limit the use of hare riders to players who have shown an aptitude for controlling multiple characters “properly”.

Yeah, there is definitely the risk of marginalization of the Hare player specifically (most of a Riders skills would be usefull wether mounted or not), though I figure their size and speed would provide a level of utility in certain circumstances that would make up for it. I certainly wouldn’t recommend an arrangement like this unless the players involved both tended to function as a team already (close friends, married couples, a parent + child, etc). The last actually would be an ideal situation: The very close association of the two characters would make it easier for the older player to guide the younger no matter which played which.

A non-player Hare/Rider combo would definitely be a possibility as well using some of these rules, though I wouldn’t want one with skills/wises because that would definitely increase the GM stealing player thunder factor. In those cases Nature could be left at 6 and the same skill requirements for professional Riding would be in place (Hareback Riding and Loremouse 3 (or Loremouse 2+Hare-wise)). Natural order would still be one up from mouse, and the Hare would never make any rolls or take conflict actions of its own, only serve to modify the rolls of the Rider (+1d as an “appropriate tool” if height helps, +1d helper die as an allied non player). Mounted mice could only team up with other mounted entities in conflicts (though since the Rider+Hare counts as a single entity rather then two as is the case with a player controlled Hare, its a bit more flexable in team composition).

A “pet” Hare would likely have to be aquired in game, even if the required skills had been taken during character creation. This would require some significant checks of Circles/Resources (hiring one yourself), impressing/convincing Gwendoline with some conflicts, or maybe flow from the results of missions (i.e. after rescuing a group of hares from a predators, one might agree to serve as a mount). Once you had partnered with such a creature, you would also now be responsible for its upkeep, likely requiring the spending of a check every mission for feed and care. Also, all players would have to agree to allow Hare mounts into the Patrol as a concept at all, otherwise the situation would be far more likely to lead to jealosy. The ideal situation would be if multiple players developed the skills so they could take turns riding a single Hare, or if most/all of them eventually got a mount of their own in which case they could form some sort of elite rapid-response cavalry patrol…

Gotta love all these ideas! I think that now that we’ve “talked it out”, it’s just a matter of what the GM and player agree to.

And I think that’s just another beauty to MG. If I were in a D&D campaign, the GM would have to make all of these decisions and make sure it is balanced. But in a game where the player has a bigger role in “making it work”, the GM has less stress!

Oh … there’s so many interesting “racial” interactions to be used here…

Hey, can we have some kind of “miscommunication” trait as being inherent between hare(s) and rider(s)? Something that lets the player do “I’ll take -1 to the skill test because I can’t understand what my hare/rider was saying”

The miscommunication idea is interesting. So do you mean that as sort of an built in thing you could take to squeeze out bonus checks? Would it negate the normal mounted bonuses when applied?

Hey! That does give me a cool idea for a Trait that is sort of the reverse of it:

{ New Trait } Hare-brained: Do to an accident of birth, spending to much time among them, or some sort of strange head trauma you have a unique understanding of the reserved, expansive thought processes of Hares and Rabbits. This naturally aids you in speaking, understanding, and even riding such stoic and noble creatures. However it can seriously hamper your interactions with those who think in a more mouselike pattern, for example most other mice.

Yup yup. I didn’t think about adding an additional penalty, but that would make sense (and probably would be a good idea).

I’m not sure if you’ll understand, but this comes from a personal experience of being bi-lingual. Sometimes I’ll lapse into another language mid-sentence and completely confuse the other person.

edit: forgot to say … that new trait makes complete sense, and it’s better than my “miscommunication” idea since it has both a positive and a negative aspect that can be used.

Hmm, I could really see that bi-lingual thing being a trait in itself (and not just being Hare related at all). Something like

{ New Trait } Linguist: You are naturally adept at understanding other languages and dialects. Wether it is using Loremouse to understand the unique methods of each animal species’ communication, guessing the meaning behind regional slang, or even establishing communication with denizens of some far off theoretical mouse Territory with a different language altogether you are the mouse others go to. On the other hand your habit of picking the perfect word or phrase, but for the wrong language, can confuse or even sometimes inadvertantly offend those around you.

I like it. You should copy that to the Territories section and invent a Town somewhere along or outside the border with that as a notable trait. Maybe along with “Bold” … call it Frenchtown.

Hmmm … dang, you got me thinking now … here, steal this from me and get it better adapted to MG … I don’t have enough experience to couch it in the right terms.

New Town: Carcassonne. Located just outside the scent border, this town has been colonized and recolonized several times over the centuries. As a result, its population is an eclectic mix of mice; most are bold entrepreneurs and adventurers, others are just too stubborn to leave in the face of danger. The town has become a center of trade with the various outer settlements, including those who are not mice!