Michtim: Fluffy Adventures by Georg Mir (@GeorgMir)
This is game whose design, layout and artwork are all the labour of love of Georg Mir (@GeorgMir), they still make clear Mitchim “would not have been possible without the help of countless passionate people”. These include Alexander Oslaj’s input on the Setting Idea, various Playtesters and those who offered Words of Wisdom and the M(o)use, Cornelius Funkenflug (what a sensational name!?), Mir’s djungarian dwarf hamster who’s “charming (even if ferocious) personality” was an inspiration “during the project”. “He’s a fluffy gangster (being locked up behind bars), and utterly adorable at everything he does.” Finally, Mir thanks You, “for putting your trust in [them] and [their] little world. Hope you enjoy making it your new home.”
This rulebook employs a beautifully brilliant, simple and aesthetic style utilising the colours of the rainbow and individual symbols to breakdown the various elements of the book to make navigation so much easier while flipping through searching for rules mid-game. For example, the introduction and lexicon are denoted by a quill and ink and the colour red, while Michtims have a Michtim face with the colour orange.
“Michtim is a role-playing game that tells the story of fuzzy little heroes that live right next to human settlements.” These fuzzy little heroes are eponymous Michtims, which despite their adorable hamster-sequence look “are actually members of an intelligent species that is not closely related to rodents.” These are the characters you will build and have great adventures with protecting forests and getting into mischief.
How to Play
This clearly explains the basics of tabletop roleplaying, a GM/ referee and players playing characters, in a clear and accessible way, Conveying the concept in an impressively concise and understandable manner, regardless of age or experience. (This is something I could definitely learn from!)
Things You Need
This section goes on to list and explain the elements needed to play a game of Michtim. These being Friends, the players and GM needed to have an game, Six-Sided Die (D6), the dice mechanic only requiring a “handful” of D6, Poker Chips (Wound Tokens), any stackable set of seven (or more for the GM) items such as poker chips, coins or whatever works to keep track of wounds, 2 Types of Glass Beads, these are used to track the Mood and Karma of Michtims, with higher mood, greater chance of success and Karma being rewards for “acting in harmony with the three virtues Charity , Civilization and Conservation” (this is another element which can easily be replaced, as with the Wound chips or Tracked differently as necessary), pencils and paper – oh so that’s why they are called pen and paper RPGs! – and finally a character sheet, which is provided, along with additional content and resources, at www.michtim.com
All in all, a simple set of items and/ or substitutions, as well as many helpful resources website.
Common Vocabulary and Phrases
This section contains some of the additional words and phrases involved in the game, which the Michtims learn during their schooling in Fauchschule, containing four pages of new word and/ or the more specific meanings of words/ phrases in the game. All in alphabetical order with a brief explanation and phonetic pronunciation for the new and words foreign to English.
Here are a few examples:
Bande (BUN•day): A band of Michtims, going out on adventure
A range of tasty bakery products that are highly priced in Michtim culture. There are both sweet and savoury bocicne.
Calling: A mystical archetype that a Michtim aspires to. As long as the Michtim cares to follow the Calling, it reaps the benefits. Michtims are known to switch Callings if it suits their whims. They are never locked into mindless jobs.
Michtim (mich•TIM): The name is pronounced similar to the way me•XI•co is pronounced in Spanish. It sounds a bit like hissing.
Symbolaya: The magical lore of meanings, words of power and archetypal resonances. Also refers to the art of written conversation.
“Michtims are a species unlike any other. Judging by looks alone, they would be most surely mistaken for hamsters, rats or mice. Michtims are different from rodents on many levels though: biologically and psychologically, and because of their complex social structures.”
The Michtim may look like rodents, but they are highly intelligent beings who have evolved the appearance of rodents to avoid capture. They are so elusive that no research has been done on them, so adept are they at hiding their resistance.
This section goes on to describe Michtim in detail including, their Fur Coat, Body Type (small, wiry or strong), Sharp Fangs, Intelligence, Lifespan, Diet, Magical Aptitude and speech. Along the way there is advice for new players creating new Michtim.
I will be touching on some of the main aspects on this section, the book itself contains more background information about Michtims and their culture.
Life Among Michtims
“Michtims build communities and have strong social mechanisms to organize themselves into groups. They even have dedicated learning facilities that are similar to human schools.”
Young Michtim attend Fauchschule “hissing school” for their formative teaching in all manner of important lessons detailed in this section.
Tree Capital Turnaya
The ever-expanding capital of Michtim culture with all manner of different shops, shrines and nests.
The Michtims live in a democratic monarchy with Hauses with varying virtues Michtims choose when they finish their apprenticeship.
Things are a little fraught between the Michtim and “longlegs” on account of the “furless ones” not caring for the environment, treatment of animals and destruction of the forests – You have to admit they have us there...
The baseline mechanic involves rolling D6 equal to their “emotion rating” and seeing whether the score beats default difficulty. The example provided involves using Anger to attack, checking the score (3) and then rolling 3D6 to attempt to beat the difficulty.
This basic rule is nice and simple for anyone to get to grips with. The mean roll on a D6 is 3.5 so your chances are good with 3, but you can always risk it with 2. Also, having a default score to beat keeps things moving, with the only things everyone needs to know at this stage of playing are their emotion rating (we’ll get into that more later, but they are essentially your ability scores), the default difficulty and where their dice are!
Successes are referred to as “hits”, regardless of the check being combat relayed. Beating the default score is one hit, but to get more you can choose to set aside dice from their emotion rating. Each die set aside is another hit on a success. This example shows an emotion rating of 4 with 2 dice rolled and 2 in reserve. If the 2 rolled dice beat the default difficulty, that and the 2 set aside make 3 hits.
This takes the baseline and adds an exciting element of risk as you gamble on getting more hits for greater success, but there’s always the chance you could roll poorly and could have really needed those dice. Combined these easy to learn rules allow all to play as straightforward as they like, with the choice whether to get tactical being optional and adding more chance, calculations and risking it for a biscuit...or should that be a Bocicne?
Getting into the Mood
Everyone loves exploding, getting a critical or otherwise rolling the maximum on a die when the roleplay, and Michtim has its own use of crits. “Mood Markers” are tokens earned when 6s are rolled, which add a passive benefit to beating Emotion Rating for the Mood they were earned in. The Mood Markers also apply a possible negative to the Emotion Rating for Mood opposed to the Mood they were earned in called “Mood Distractions” (More on opposed Moods later).
There are limits on how many Mood Marker a player can have and for how long they last.
Mood Markers also can be spent to buy dice at the beginning of an action. These are constrained to the Mood they were earned for.
All these rules are clearly laid with their own page containing clear descriptions and examples with illustrated dice. This clean and clear style makes learning the rules nice and easy, as the rules from the most basic, building on the previous understanding of the rules. The single page layout keeps things clear and focused, as well as making referencing more straightforward than scouring pages full of text.
The Core of the Hero
There are five Emotions at the heart of characters and their actions in Michtim, which are Joy, Love, Grief, Fear and Anger. Each Emotion has basic actions connected to it, and an opposing Emotion
These are clearly laid out in a diagram and explained clearly, along with paragraphs on “Using Basic Actions”, “Roleplaying Emotions”, “Social Interaction” and “Distractions”. There’s also a sidebar on how new characters can choose to allocate their starting Emotions scores.
The five Emotions are depicted by bright symbols that clearly confer their meaning, along with descriptions of the Emotions with explanation of their colour and associated actions.
Advanced Belly Brawling
Combat is explained in the same clear manner as the previous rules with paragraphs on “Combat Time”, “Initiative Roll” and “Player Vs Player” with this glorious quote, “Michtims usually will not kill each other. If they do, they are hunted down and arrested. Just saying.”
The “Action Types” in Michtim, the “Move Action” allows a standard distance to be travelled or the “Evade” action to be taken, the “Regular Action” does what it says on the tin, being the standard action used to do most actions i.e. “Attack, Cure, Hide, Jolt and Weep” and the “Reflexive Action”, which is the instant free actions, such as short speech.
These are a tight set of actions that are easy to follow with their simplicity allowing for swift exciting turns during Combat Time.
Sadly, your cute critters are going to take some damage on their adventures. This is counted using Wound Tokens, which can be healed with Cure and certain Gear (we’ll get into Gear a bit later).
There are four different type of Wound Effects, all sadly modelled by one unfortunate Michtim. These are “Blinding Wound”, “Cruel Wound” and “Slowing Wound”, all of which negatively affect certain actions, and “Worsening Wound”, which...gets worse and does more damage round after round.
Being Knocked Out / Defeated
Michtim have a set number of wounds and/ or level of wounds they can take before they are Knocked Out. Being Knocked Out does not mean death and very few of the foes in the game are actually looking to kill – this is adorable, plucky, furry friends going on grand adventures after all!
A great table of suggestions for what might happen when a lone Michtim or the entire Bande are taken out is provided and can be rolled on. My favourite entry is this beauty, “They see the error of their ways. They didn’t mean to harm you.”
Becoming a Hero
Callings are the trades or classes that Michtims choose, which have their own advantages and options. Unlike other TTRPGs, Michtims can be “attuned” to up to three Callings at once and with enough experience they can learn any number of them. The fluid nature of Michtim culture and their vacillating between jobs is represented by their being a number of ways to change the attuned Callings, most regularly in their dreams while asleep, but even in combat using a “Karma Point” (We’ll talk more about Karma Points later in Allegiance).
Each Calling is laid out over two pages with, subtitle that encapsulates their role, a short piece of prose about a Michtim who has chosen the Calling, a description of the Calling, its mechanical bonuses and possible Synergies (Callings that work well together), their unique ability, examples of apprentice names on the first page, and the second contain the Talents for the Calling (named for the Calling e.g. Paths for Adventurer), half page artwork and a short description of the mechanics. The second page can easily serve a quick reference guide for the Calling.
The callings available are:
Adventurers are a hearty jack of all trades, able to collect extra mood markers and try their luck to mitigate bad happenings, at the risk of making them worse.
Artists an integral part of Michtim Society, “their work, called Symbolaya, they codify everything that is remarkable about life”. They have the ability to leech and redistribute mood markers making them a great support.
Bards unsurprisingly have unmatched charisma and can play tunes that buff their fellows.
Cooks create various brews that bolster their fellow’s actions and can whip up healing tasty healing brews.
Courtiers “wield words with the grace of a master fencer”, allowing them to influence opponent’s Moods, hampering undesired actions.
Cyberthooths “are highly refined tech-soldiers” with a focus an edge provided by their implants, allowing them to perform actions reflexively.
Daredevils in many ways are the adrenaline junkies of the Michtim world, diving in to take the hit for their fellows and using pain to gain markers of their choice. Their Stunts (talents) have some of the most adorable names, such as “Bwah! You’re so mean!” for Grief.
Frostpaws can use their freezing touch reflexively to block opponents’ actions. This hands-on approach gives them the ability to limit their enemies’ and control the battlefield.
Sorcerers used their magical knowledge to perform from afar with a wide variety of offensive and defensive abilities.
Tacticians bring the bande together in their actions and can target multiple foes utilising technology and cunning.
Witches place Hexes on friends and foes with conditional triggers they set. They also get a familiar, which can be a teeny tiny version of a creature!
The range of classes is impressive and covers a great range of roles and play styles. Each bring something uniquely helpful to the table. I particularly enjoy how loose elements are for flavouring. Does the Tactician utilise a powered gauntlet or is it purely their honed acumen that gives them their abilities? The Cybertooths definitely have some kind of technology, but you’re free to have it as arcane, steampunk or sci-fi as you like. The Callings set out the archetype, but the player makes it their own.
This section discusses Callings that work particularly well together, such Cybertooth and Frostpaw for maximum control of foes, and Cook and Mechanist combining to create an awesome animated servant. It’s great to see how the Callings work together to inform choices and get an idea of how you want to build and play your own Michtim.
This section covers the swearing allegiance to the big three factions (Hauses), as well as the Karma and Sin mechanics. These make the choice of Haus and their Virtues, such as Civilisation for Haus Grauling. The Virtues and Sins are described in more detail at the end of the section, but the mechanic and how the GM rewards and punishes Michtims is made clear. Essentially, acting against the Virtues of your house is punished by sin tokens that block the gaining of Karma for the relevant Emotion.
The three Hauses each include their Name and Subtitle (e.g. “Haus Barsik, Protect the wild!”) Heraldry and its significance (e.g. the interlocking cogs of Haus Grauling) Haus Holdings (e.g. the capital that shares its name with Haus Turnaya), their Virtue and what it means to them (e.g. Civilization for Haus Grauling) and two further headings relating to the lore, operation or personality of the Haus.
The thought and grounding each of the houses has in the Michtim culture is incredible and the mortality of the house is clear and easy to interpret
Virtues are broken down into three level Sins hierarchy for each Haus’ Virtue; minor sins (e.g. Refusing to help for Charity), harmful (e.g. Denying Intellect for Civilisation) and capital Sins (e.g. Ravaging Nature for Conservation).
This is the equipment Michtim can gain access to. These are Cloaks, which act as armour, Tools are weapons and gear that grant bonuses on big hits, and Accessories, which have a one-use ability before the need to be recharged.
Damage is broken down between magical, physical and technology based.
These simple, but expansive trios of effects are more than enough for variety and customisation without there being a million different things to be aware continuing the accessible, quick and easy approach to the whole game design. Three is the magic number!
The Tools, Cloaks and Accessories are broken into common items (e.g. a sword in Tools), and Haus specific items (e.g. a Spidersilk Cloak for Haus Barsik). All laid out with name, action (For Tools), ability, type, numerical bonus and Restore (for Accessories).
The process of creating your own Michtim is “as easy as eating bocicne” because of the inspired four ranks, which allow the players and GM to choose the complexity they wish to be playing with. I mentioned this in the rules section, but the tiered nature of the rules allows for extremely easy to play basic rules and increase complexity with experience.
These ranks are Fauchschule Kid, Apprentice, Hero and Veteran, making up the choice of rules and progression of character with the Veteran getting an Ultimate (awesome abilities we’ll get to). Clear explanations are given for each element at each rank and a character is built up over the examples the ranks.
This chapter was edited for clarity in 2019.
The system for progression used Karma points, which are earned for upholding your Michtim’s Virtues, “accepting failures and roleplaying flaws”. This encourages roleplay and being in character as it is the only way to progress comparable to gaining Inspiration in D&D5e. Having these Karma be awarded by the players as well as the DM is a lovely mechanic, which encourages players to stay engaged and show their appreciation of their fellow’s roleplay and character.
Karma is spent to acquire new Callings, Talents and Ultimates. The point score is clear on the character sheet with the new Callings being more expensive with their Talents becoming increasingly cheaper, reflecting the mastering of the Calling. Because all Callings and Talents can be acquired eventually, but only three can be active at once, the progression ascends to a height of three mastered callings and then horizontal as new Callings are learned, though there is still a final way to become even more accomplished as when a Calling is mastered its Utility can still be used when it’s not attuned. This all reflects the mercurial and curious nature of Michtims, always looking to learn more.
Emotion Ratings don’t change through progression, though it is possible to move a D6 from one Emotion to another at the end of a Story if there is a character-based reason for it to change, such as moving one from anger to love, after developing a strong friendship in your adventures.
The character sheet available in the back of the book and on the Michtim website linked in this section is bright, clear and contains everything a player need including references for Emotions and Sins, space for Callings with the prices for new Callings and Talents, three slots for the three types of gear and space and prices for Ultimates. It’s seriously an elegantly laid out work of inspired design, understanding accessibility and simplicity, perfectly reflecting the game itself.
These are extra techniques that can be acquired and activated by spending Karma with the prices clear on the character sheet that work always available feats that cost Karma to use. Four are included with the comment, “They are nothing but a starting point to base your own creations on.” All four examples take an emotion to boost, add a related trigger and ability with the required Calling.
Ultimates boost a specific Emotion and have a secondary ability that requires a specific trigger and Calling to work (e.g. Shock Charge allows an Angry Tactician multiple targets if they on a conductive material).
These abilities are good fun and are another fantastic opportunity for the GM and players to collaborate, either by the player petitioning the GM for their idea for an Ultimate when the get the opportunity to buy it or for the GM to become more familiar with the players and create Ultimates inspired by their Michtim’s endeavours.
This section talks very opening about the ideas of reskinning and hacking the game to fit a setting or theme you might want, as well as discussing alternative Callings. This is a refreshing thing to read and is inspiring for the prospective GM.
This section takes you through the designing of an episodes and missions, Michtim encounters and adventures. Beginning with taking inspiration from your favourite media, through the scene (a framing situation), spicing things up (adding tension and suspense), location, including example plot hooks, connecting scenes and example keys (the archetypical scenes: combat, socialising, investigation and planning). Each part is described in an easily accessible and helpful manner, so you will be creating your own episodes and missions on no time.
This is an example Escort/ Rescue Mission which sees a band of Michtim travel to unfamiliar territory, face various perils and challenges as they a taken to a pet store, must as escape to save their companion, making it to a family home, tangling with the house cats and child to save the day, only for a new betrayal and story hook to come to life.
This fun and fascinating mission exemplifies the way Michtim uses scenes to build to episodes and the mission with its own take on describing the narrative and action. This eschews boxtext in favour of providing all the information and flavour to the GM to interpret and describe as they see fit, encouraging improvisation and originality. The mission also exhibits the range of checks, skills combat and roleplay to give a great overview of the game mechanics.
Cast and Crew
In this final section of the book we are introduced to the notable characters and NPCs of the Michtim world, from Queen Miyu and the guest star of Sparks Flight and heir, Cornelius Funkenflug, through the mighty Daredevil Cybertooth, Apollonia Stahldfaust and he mischievous brood to the parachute sombrero wielding Miguel De Bormen and the wicked, Isabella Frostherz. 11 NPCs in total (counting the brood as one), encompassing the breadth of Michtim society, all with description, artwork, callings, gear, statblock and adventure seeds give you more than enough to start creating your own episodes and missions!
These are things only known to Michtim, including the Corrupted (particularly sinful Michtim become monstrous with some even managing to hide their true nature, though a hard road to salvation is possible [and a great story hook]), each Virtue has its own specific monstrosity with Charity having Callous Fiends, Civilisation’s Barbaric Beasts and Conservation-sinning resulting in Ravaging Ghouls, and the Veil, which keeps Michtims and Turnaya secret and safe from the long-legged world.
A thorough and easily referenced index has everything you need to find what you want with speed. This navigation is also helped by the pdf actually having a great section and element breakdown, which really is essential for all large PDFs these days, but is often frustratingly overlooked.
This is nearly 120 pages of adorable awesomeness! A beautifully simple and elegant rules system with varying level of complexity for different groups with awesome ideas, mechanics and background lore.
The art style and artwork throughout are so wonderfully adorable and truly encapsulate the vibes of Michtims and the game.
Just a note on the art of the various Michtim classes on the Haus page – It’s freaking adorable! The chef is SO happy!
This is clearly a labour of love with joy and fun at its heart. I cannot recommend it more strongly for anyone and everyone who wants a fun, fast roleplaying game.